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Story  of  The  Great  War 

History  of  the  European 
War   from   Official  Sources 


T'refaced  by 









Former  Reference  Librarian  of  Congress 

edited  by 


Associate  Editor,  The  New  International  Encyclopedia 

Editor  in  Chief,  Photographic  History  of  the  Civil  War 

O     L     L     I     E     R 

NEW      YORK 


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ur  A  o 

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Ax:rjinA    .  ^ERDUN   '  THE 

■>T\rT?,  .  UNITED 


t:w    YO^K 






COLLIER   y   SON    •   NEW   YORK 

Copyright  1916 
Br  P.  F.  Collier  &  Sow 




I.    Austrian  Ambassador  Implicated  in  Strike  Plots — His 

Recall — Ramifications  of  German  Conspiracies   .     .        9 
II.    The  Plot  to  Destroy  Ships — Pacific  Coast  Conspiracies 
— Hamburg-American  Case — Scope  of  New  York  In- 
vestigations        15 

III.  Von    Rintelen's    Activities  —  Congressman    Involved  — 

Germany's  Repudiations — Dismissal  of  Captains  Boy- 
Ed  and  Von  Papen 22 

IV.  Great     Britain's     Defense     of     Blockade  —  American 

Methods  in  Civil  War  Cited 28 

V.    British  Blockade  Denounced  as  Illegal  and  Ineffective 

BY  THE  United  States — The  American  Position   .     .      35 
VI.    Great   Britain   Unyielding — Effect  of  the   Blockade — 

The  Chicago  Meat  Packers'  Case     * 44 

VII.  Seizure  of  Suspected  Ships — Trading  "With  the  Enemy 
— The  Appam — The  Anglo-French  Loan — Ford  Peace 
Expedition ,     .      49 

■^III.    American   Pacificism  —  Preparedness — Munition    Safe- 
guard         ....      54 


IX.    Naval  Engagements  in  Many  Waters 59 

X.    Minor  Engagements  and  Losses 6€ 

XI.    The  Battle  of  Jutland  Bank — Beginning 70 

XII.    Some  Secondary  Features  of  the  Battle 89 

XIII.  Losses  and  Tactics 94 

XIV.  Death  op  Lord  Kitchener — Other  Events  of  the  Second 

Year 108 


XV.    The  Eastern  Front  at  the  Approach  op  Spring,  1916  .  116 

XVI.    The  Russian  March — Offensive  from  Riga  to  Pinsk  .  122 

XVII.    Resumption  op  Austro-Russian  Operations 133 























FRONT — Continued 


Thaw  and  Spring  Floods 141 

Artillery  Duels 149 

The  Great  Russian  Offensive 154 

The  Russian  Reconquest  of  the  Bukowina  ....  162 

In  Conquered  East  Galicia 173 

The  German  Counteroffensive  Before  Kovel  .     .     .  178 

Progress  of  the  Bukowinian  Conquest 183 

Temporary  Lull  in  the  Russian  Offensive  ....  188 

Advance  Against  Lemberg  and  Kovel 192 

The  Germans*  ^tand  on  the  Stokhod 198 

Increased  Strength  of  the  Russian  Drive  ....  207 


Holding  Fast  in  Saloniki 212 

Military  and  Political  Events  in  Greece  ....  216 


Resumption  of  Operations  on  the  Italian  Front  .     .  229 

The  Spring  of  1916  on  the  Austro-Italian  Front  ,     .  235 

The  Austrian  May  Drive  in  the  Trentino  ....  244 

The  Rise  and  Failure  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  Drive  255 

The  Italian  Counteroffensive  in  the  Trentino  .     .  265 

Continuation  of  the  Italian  Counteroffensive    .     .  276 
Minor  Operations  on  the  Austro-Italian  Front  in 

Trentino  Offensive 283 

XXXVIII.    Russian  Successes  After  Erzerum  .... 



XXXIX.    Renewed  Attempt  to  Relieve  Kut-el-Amara  ....  307 

XL.    The  Surrender  of  Kut-el-Amara 318 

XLI.    Spring  and  Summer  Trench  War  on  the  Tigris  .     .     .  326 

XLII.    Russian  Advance  Toward  Bagdad 330 

XLIII.    Turkish  Offensive  and  Russian  Counteroffensive  in 

Armenia  and  Persia 335 




XLIV.    Renewal  of  the  Battle  of  Verdun 340 

XLV.    The  Struggle  for  Vaux  Fort  and  Village — Battle  of 

MoRT   Homme 348 

XLVI.    Battle  of  Hill  304  and  Douaumont — The  Struggle  at 

Fleury 361 

XL VII.    Spring  Operations  in  Other   Sectors     .     .     .     .     .     .371 

XLVIII.    Battle  of  the  Somme — Allied  Preparations — Position 

OF  THE  Opposing  Forces     .     .     ....     .     .     .  377 

XLIX.    The  British  Attack 382 

L.    The  French  Attacks  North  and  South  of  the  Somme  387 

LI.    The  British  Attack   (Continued)      .     .     .     .     .     .     .  392 

LII.    The  Second  Phase  of  the  Battle  of  the  Somme  ...  401 

PART    IX.— THE    WAR    IN    THE    AIR 

LIII.    The  Value  of  Zeppelins  in  Long-Distance  Reconnoiter- 

iNG — Naval  Auxiliaries 412 

LIV.    Aeroplane  Improvements — Giant  Machines — Technical 

Developments 418 

LV.    Losses  and  Casualties  in   Aerial   Warfare  —  Discrep-   ' 
ANCiEs  in   Official  Reports  —  "Driven   Down"  and 
"Destroyed" 424 

LVI.    Aerial  Combats  and  Raids 427 


LVII.    War  Cloud  in  Congress 433 

LVIII.    The  President  Upheld  in  Armed-Merchantmen  Issue — 

Final  Crisis  with  Germany   ........  439 

LIX.    The  American  Ultimatum — Germany  Yields  ....  449 

Two  Years  of  the  War.    By  Frank  H.  Simonds 

The  German   Problem 461 

The  Belgian   Phase 463 

The  French  Offensive 466 

The  Battle  of  the  Marne 469 

The  End  of  the  First  Western  Campaign 472 

The  Russian  Phase 476 


Two  Years  of  the  War.    By  Frank  H.  Simonds — Continued  page 

Tannenberg  and  Lemberg 476 

Warsaw  and  Lodz 479 

The  Galician  Campaign 480 

The  Battle  of  the  Dunajec 481 

Russia  Survives 484 

The  Balkan  Campaign 484 

In  the   West 487 

Italy 488 

Verdun .488 

The  February  Attack 490 

Later  Phases 491 

Gettysburg 493 

The  Austrian   Offensive 494 

Germany  Loses  the  Offensive 495 

The   Russian   Attack 496 

The  Battle  of  the  Somme 499 

GoRiziA 499 

As  THE  Third  Year  Begins 501 

The  Second  Anniversary  of  the   War.     Statements  from  the 
British,   French,  and  German  Ambassadors  to  the  United 

States 503 


Jutland .     Frontispiece 


Queen  Mary,  British  Battle  Cruiser 78 

Earl  Kitchener 110 

Austrian  30.5-Centimeter  Gun 158 

Austrian  Intrenchment  High  on  a  Mountain 238 

German  Crown  Prince  Giving  Crosses  for  Valor 350 

French  Aviation  Camp  Near  Verdun 366 

U-C-5,  German  Mine-Laying  Submarine 446 

Motor-Mounted  French  75's 494 



Expansion  op  the  War — Dates  on  Which  Declarations  op  War 

Were  Made  (Colored  Map) Front  Insert 

Battle  of  Jutland  Bank,  The 

Plate  I — Distribution  of  Forces 74 

Plate  II — Running  Fight  to  the  Southward 77 

Plate  III — Running  Fight  to  the  Northward     .     .     .     ,  79 
Plate  IV — British  Grand  Fleet  Approaching  from  North- 
west          81 

Plate  V — British  Grand  Fleet  Coming  into  Action     .     .  83 
Plate  VI — Jellicoe  and  Beatty  Acting  Together  to  "Cap" 

German  Fleet 85 

Plate  VII — Jellicoe  and  Beatty  Pass  Around  the  German 

Flank,  "Capping"  It 86 

Plate  VIII — British  Forces  Heading  Off  to  Southward  to 

Avoid  Attack  During  Darkness 88 

Plate  IX — Movement  of  Forces 103 

Plate  X — Movements  of  Jellicoe's  Forces  on  May  31  .     .  105 

Plate  XI — What  Von  Scheer  Should  Have  Done  ....  106 

Eastern  Battle  Front,  August,  1916 119 

Russian  Offensive  from  Pinsk  to  Dubno,  The 157 

Russian  Offensive  in  Galicia,  The 175 

Italian  Front,  The 241 

Austrian  Offensive,  May,  1916,  Detail  of .263 

GoRiziA 272 

Kut-el-Amara 322 

Russians  in  Persia,  The 333 

Russians  in  Armenia,  The 838 

Western  Battle  Front,  August,  1916 343 

Four  Zone  Maps   (Colored) Opposite  344 

Verdun,  First  Attack  on 346 

Verdun,  Northeast  District  in  Detail 352 

Verdun,  Northwest  District  in  Detail 356 

Mort  Homme  Sector  in  Detail 364 

Verdun  to  St.  Mihiel ••••••..  366 


8  LIST   OF   MAPS 


Verdun  Gain  up  to  August,  1916 369 

Sector  Where  Grand  Offensive  was  Started 379 

English  Gains,  The 394 

French  Gains,  The 406 

Two  Years  of  the  War 

August  18,  1914,  When  the  Belgian  Retreat  to  Antwerp 

Began 465 

August  23,  1914,  After  the  Allies  Had  Lost  All  the  First 

Battles 467 

September  6,  1914,  The  Battle  of  the  Marne 471 

September  20,  1914,  The  Deadlock   .........  473 

November  15,  1914,  The  End  of  the  Western  Campaign     .  475 

October  24,  1914,  The  Battle  of  the  Vistula 478 

October  1,  1915,  At  the  End  op  the  Russian  Retreat  .     .  483 

The  Conquest  op  Serbia,  December,  1915 485 

The  Russian  Spring  Offensive,  1916 497 

Austro-Italian  Campaigns,  May  to  September,  1916     .     .  500 




PUBLIC  absorption  in  German  propaganda  was  abating  when 
attention  became  directed  to  it  again  from  another  quarter. 
An  American  war  correspondent,  James  F.  J.  Archibald,  a  pas- 
senger on  the  liner  Rotterdam  from  New  York,  who  was  sus- 
pected by  the  British  authorities  of  being  a  bearer  of  dispatches 
from  the  German  and  Austrian  Ambassadors  at  Washington,  to 
their  respective  Governments,  was  detained  and  searched  on  the 
steamer's  arrival  at  Falmouth  on  August  30,  1915.  A  number 
of  confidential  documents  found  among  his  belongings  were 
seized  and  confiscated,  the  British  officials  justifying  their  action 
as  coming  within  their  rights  under  English  municipal  law.  The 
character  of  the  papers  confirmed  the  British  suspicions  that 
Archibald  was  misusing  his  American  passport  by  acting  as  a 
secret  courier  for  countries  at  war  with  which  the  United  States 
was  at  peace. 

The  seized  papers  were  later  presented  to  the  British  Parliar 
ment  and  published.  In  a  bulky  dossier,  comprising  thirty-four 
documents  found  in  Archibald's  possession,  was  a  letter  from 
the  Austro-Hungarian  Ambassador  at  Washington,  Dr.  Dumba, 
to  Baron  Burian,  the  Austro-Hungarian  Foreign  Minister.  In 
this  letter  Dr.  Dumba  took  "this  rare  and  safe  opportunity*'  of 
"warmly  recommending"  to  the  Austrian  Foreign  Office  certain 
proposals  made  by  the  editor  of  a  Hungarian-American  organ, 
the  "Szabadsag,"  for  effecting  strikes  in  plants  of  the  Bethlehem 


10  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Steel  Company  and  others  in  the  Middle  West  engaged  in  making 
munitions  for  the  Allies. 

The  United  States  Government  took  a  serious  view  of  the  let- 
ter recommending  the  plan  for  instigating  strikes  in  American 
factories.  Dr.  Dumba,  thrown  on  his  defense,  explained  to  the 
State  Department  that  the  incriminating  proposals  recommended 
in  the  document  did  not  originate  from  him  personally,  but 
were  the  fruit  of  orders  received  from  Vienna.  This  explana- 
tion was  not  easily  acceptable.  The  phraseology  of  Dr.  Dumba 
far  from  conveyed  the  impression  that  he  was  submitting  a  re- 
port on  an  irregular  proposal  inspired  by  instructions  of  the 
Austrian  Government.  Such  a  defense,  however,  if  accepted, 
only  made  the  matter  more  serious.  Instead  of  the  American 
Government  having  to  take  cognizance  of  an  offensive  act  by  an 
ambassador,  the  Government  which  employed  him  would  rather 
have  to  be  called  to  account.  Another  explanation  by  Dr.  Dumba 
justified  his  letter  to  Vienna  on  the  ground  that  the  strike  pro- 
posal urged  merely  represented  a  plan  for  warning  all  Austrians 
and  Hungarians,  employed  in  the  munition  factories,  of  the 
penalties  they  would  have  to  pay  if  they  ever  returned  to  their 
home  country,  after  aiding  in  producing  weapons  and  missiles  of 
destruction  to  be  used  against  the  Teutonic  forces.  This  defense 
also  lacked  convincing  force,  as  the  letter  indicated  that  the  aim 
was  so  to  cripple  the  munition  factories  that  their  output  would 
be  curtailed  or  stopped  altogether — an  object  that  could  only  be 
achieved  by  a  general  strike  of  all  workers. 

The  Administration  did  not  take  long  to  make  up  its  mind  that 
the  time  for  disciplining  foreign  diplomats  who  exceeded  the 
duties  of  their  office  had  come.  On  September  8,  1915,  Austria- 
Hungary  was  notified  that  Dr.  Konstantin  Theodor  Dumba  was 
no  longer  acceptable  as  that  country's  envoy  in  Washington.  The 
American  note  dispatched  to  Ambassador  Penfield  at  Vienna  for 
transmission  to  the  Austrian  Foreign  Minister  was  blunt  and 
direct.  After  informing  Baron  Burian  that  Dr.  Dumba  had 
admitted  improper  conduct  in  proposing  to  his  Government  plans 
to  instigate  strikes  in  American  manufacturing  plants,  the 
United  States  thus  demanded  his  recall : 


*'By  reason  of  the  admitted  purpose  and  intent  of  Dr.  Dumba 
to  conspire  to  cripple  legitimate  industries  of  the  people  of  the 
United  States  and  to  interrupt  their  legitimate  trade,  and  by 
reason  of  the  flagrant  violation  of  diplomatic  propriety  in  em- 
ploying an  American  citizen,  protected  by  an  American  passport, 
as  a  secret  bearer  of  official  dispatches  through  the  lines  of  the 
enemy  of  Austria-Hungary,  the  President  directs  us  to  inform 
your  excellency  that  Dr.  Dumba  is  no  longer  acceptable  to  the 
Government  of  the  United  States  as  the  Ambassador  of  His  Im- 
perial Majesty  at  Washington." 

Dr.  Dumba  was  not  recalled  by  his  Government  until  Septem- 
ber 22,  1915,  fourteen  days  after  the  American  demand.  Mean- 
while Dr.  Dumba  had  cabled  to  Vienna,  requesting  that  he  be 
ordered  to  return  on  leave  of  absence  "to  report."  His  recall  was 
ostensibly  in  response  to  his  personal  request,  but  the  Adminis- 
tration objected  to  this  resort  to  a  device  intended  to  cloak  the 
fact  that  he  was  now  persona  non  grata  whose  return  was  really 
involuntary,  and  would  not  recognize  a  recall  "on  leave  of  ab- 
sence." His  Government  had  no  choice  but  to  recall  him  officially 
in  view  of  the  imminent  contingency  that  otherwise  he  would 
be  ousted,  and  in  that  case  would  be  denied  safe  conduct  from 
capture  by  an  allied  cruiser  in  his  passage  across  the  ocean. 
His  request  for  passports  and  safe  conduct  was,  in  fact,  dis- 
regarded by  the  Administration,  which  informed  him  that  the 
matter  was  one  to  be  dealt  directly  with  his  Government,  pend- 
ing whose  official  intimation  of  recall  nothing  to  facilitate  his 
departure  could  be  done.  On  the  Austrian  Government  being 
notified  that  Dr.  Dumba's  departure  "on  leave  of  absence" 
would  not  be  satisfactory,  he  was  formally  recalled  on  Septem- 
ber 28,  1915. 

The  seized  Archibald  dossier  included  a  letter  from  the  Ger- 
man military  attache.  Captain  Franz  von  Papen,  to  his  wife,  con- 
taining reference  to  Dr.  Albert's  correspondence,  which  left  no 
doubt  that  the  letters  were  genuine : 

"Unfortunately,  they  stole  a  fat  portfolio  from  our  good  Albert 
in  the  elevated  (a  New  York  street  railroad).  The  English 
secret  service  of  course.    Unfortunately,  there  were  some  very 

12  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

important  things  from  my  report  among  them  such  as  buying  up 
liquid  chlorine  and  about  the  Bridgeport  Projectile  Company,  as 
well  as  documents  regarding  the  buying  up  of  phenol  and  the 
acquisition  of  Wright's  aeroplane  patent.  But  things  like  that 
must  occur.  I  send  you  Albert's  reply  for  you  to  see  how  we 
protect  ourselves.    We  composed  the  document  to-day." 

The  "document"  evidently  was  Dr.  Albert's  explanation  dis- 
counting the  significance  and  importance  of  the  letters.  This 
explanation  was  published  on  August  20,  1915. 

The  foregoing  disclosures  of  documents  covered  a  wide  range 
of  organized  German  plans  for  embarrassing  the  Allies'  dealings 
with  American  interests;  but  they  related  rather  more  to  ac- 
complished operations  and  such  activities  as  were  revealed  to  be 
under  way — e.  g.,  the  acquisition  of  munitions  combined  with 
propaganda  for  an  embargo — ^were  not  deemed  to  be  violative  of 
American  law.  But  this  stage  of  intent  to  clog  the  Allies'  facili- 
ties for  obtaining  sinews  of  war,  in  the  face  of  law,  speedily  grew 
to  one  of  achievement  more  or  less  effective  according  to  the  suc- 
cess with  which  the  law  interposed  to  spoil  the  plans. 

The  autumn  and  winter  of  1915  were  marked  by  the  exposure 
of  a  number  of  German  plots  which  revealed  that  groups  of  con- 
spirators were  in  league  in  various  parts  of  the  country,  bent  on 
wrecking  munition  plants,  sinking  ships  loaded  with  Allies'  sup- 
plies, and  fomenting  strikes.  Isolated  successes  had  attended 
their  efforts,  but  collectively  their  depredations  presented  a  seri- 
ous situation.  The  exposed  plots  produced  clues  to  secret  Ger- 
man sources  from  which  a  number  of  mysterious  explosions  at 
munition  plants  and  on  ships  had  apparently  been  directed.  Pro- 
jected labor  disturbances  at  munition  plants  were  traced  to  a 
similar  origin.  The  result  was  that  the  docket  of  the  Federal 
Department  of  Justice  became  laden  with  a  motley  collection  of 
indictments  which  implicated  fifty  or  more  individuals  concerned 
in  some  dozen  conspiracies,  in  which  four  corporations  were  also 

These  cases  only  represented  a  portion  of  the  criminal  infrac- 
tions of  neutrality  laws,  which  had  arisen  since  the  outbreak  of 
the  war.    In  January,  1916/  ^  inquiry  in  Congress  directed  the 


Attorney  General  to  name  all  persons  "arrested  in  connection 
with  criminal  plots  affecting  the  neutrality  of  our  Government." 
Attorney  General  Gregory  furnished  a  list  of  seventy-one  indicted 
persons,  and  the  four  corporations  mentioned.  A  list  of  merely 
arrested  persons  would  not  have  been  informative,  as  it  would 
have  conveyed  an  incomplete  and  misleading  impression.  Such  a 
list,  Mr.  Gregory  told  Congress,  would  not  include  persons  in- 
dicted but  never  arrested,  having  become  fugitives  from  justice ; 
nor  persons  indicted  but  never  arrested,  having  surrendered ;  but 
would  include  persons  arrested  and  not  proceeded  against.  Thus 
there  were  many  who  had  eluded  the  net  of  justice  by  flight  and 
some  through  insufficient  evidence.  The  seventy-one  persons 
were  concerned  in  violations  of  American  neutrality  in  connec- 
tion with  the  European  war. 

The  list  covered  several  cases  already  recorded  in  this  history, 
namely : 

A  group  of  Englishmen,  and  another  of  Montenegrins,  in- 
volved in  so-called  enlistment  "plots"  for  obtaining  recruits  on 
American  soil  for  the  armies  of  their  respective  countries. 

The  case  of  Werner  Horn,  indicted  for  attempting  to  destroy 
by  an  explosive  the  St.  Croix  railroad  bridge  between  Maine  and 
New  Brunswick. 

A  group  of  nine  men,  mainly  Germans,  concerned  in  procuring 
bogus  passports  to  enable  them  to  take  passage  to  Europe  to  act 
as  spies.  Eight  were  convicted,  the  ninth  man,  named  Von 
Wedell,  a  fugitive  passport  offender,  was  supposed  to  have  been 
caught  in  England  and  shot. 

The  Hamburg-American  case,  in  which  Dr.  Karl  Buenz,  for- 
mer German  Consul  General  in  New  York,  and  other  officials  or 
employees  of  that  steamship  company,  were  convicted  (subject  to 
an  appeal)  of  defrauding  the  Government  in  submitting  false 
clearance  papers  as  to  the  destinations  of  ships  sent  from  New 
York  to  furnish  supplies  to  German  war  vessels  in  the  Atlantic. 

A  group  of  four  men,  a  woman,  and  a  rubber  agency,  indicted 
on  a  similar  charge,  their  operations  being  on  the  Pacific  coast, 
where  they  facilitated  the  delivery  of  supplies  to  German  cruis- 
ers when  in  the  Pacific  in  the  early  stages  of  the  war. 

14  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

There  remain  the  cases  which,  in  the  concatenation  of  events, 
might  logically  go  on  record  as  direct  sequels  to  the  public  di- 
vulging of  the  Albert  and  Archibald  secret  papers.  These  in- 
cluded : 

A  conspiracy  to  destroy  munition-carrying  ships  at  sea  and  to 
murder  the  passengers  and  crews.  Indictments  in  these  terms 
were  brought  against  a  group  of  six  men — Robert  Fay,  Dr.  Her- 
bert 0.  Kienzie,  Walter  L.  Scholz,  Paul  Daeche,  Max  Breitung, 
and  Engelbert  Bronkhorst. 

A  conspiracy  to  destroy  the  Welland  Canal  and  to  use  Ameri- 
can soil  as  a  base  for  unlawful  operations  against  Canada. 
Three  men,  Paul  Koenig,  a  Hamburg-American  line  official,  R. 
E.  Leyendecker,  and  E.  J.  Justice,  were  involved  in  this  case. 

A  conspiracy  to  destroy  shipping  on  the  Pacific  Coast.  A  Ger- 
man baron,  Von  Brincken,  said  to  be  one  of  the  kaiser's  army 
officers ;  an  employee  of  the  German  consulate  at  San  Francisco, 
C.  C.  Crowley;  and  a  woman,  Mrs.  Margaret  W.  Cornell,  were 
the  offenders. 

A  conspiracy  to  prevent  the  manufacture  and  shipment  of 
munitions  to  the  allied  powers.  A  German  organization,  the 
National  Labor  Peace  Council,  was  indicted  on  this  charge,  as 
well  as  a  wealthy  German,  Franz  von  Rintelen,  described  as  an 
intimate  friend  of  the  German  Crown  Prince,  and  several  Amer- 
icans known  in  public  life. 

In  most  of  these  cases  the  name  of  Captain  Karl  Boy-Ed,  the 
German  naval  attache,  or  Captain  Franz  von  Papen,  the  Grerman 
military  attache,  figured  persistently.  The  testimony  of  in- 
formers confirmed  the  suspicion  that  a  wide  web  of  secret  in- 
trigue radiated  from  sources  related  to  the  German  embassy  and 
enfolded  all  the  conspiracies,  showing  that  few,  if  any,  of  the 
plots,  contemplated  or  accomplished,  were  due  solely  to  the  in- 
dividual zeal  of  German  sympathizers. 

A— War  St  S 





CASE  —  SCOPE     OF     NEW      YORK 


rpHE  plot  of  Fay  and  his  confederates  to  place  bombs  on  ships 
J-  carrying  war  supplies  to  Europe  was  discovered  when  a 
couple  of  New  York  detectives  caught  Fay  and  an  accomplice, 
Scholz,  experimenting  with  explosives  in  a  wood  near  Wee- 
hawken,  N.  J.,  on  October  24,  1915.  Their  arrests  were  the  out- 
come of  a  police  search  for  two  Germans  who  secretly  sought  to 
purchase  picric  acid,  a  component  of  high  explosives  which  had 
become  scarce  since  the  war  began.  Certain  purchases  made 
were  traced  to  Fay.  On  the  surface  Fay's  offense  seemed  merely 
one  of  harboring  and  using  explosives  without  a  license;  but 
police  investigations  of  ship  explosions  had  proceeded  on  the 
theory  that  the  purchases  of  picric  acid  were  associated  with 

Fay  confirmed  this  surmise.  He  described  himself  as  a  lieu- 
tenant in  the  German  army,  who,  with  the  sanction  of  the  Ger- 
man secret  information  service,  had  come  to  the  United  States 
after  sharing  in  the  Battle  of  the  Marne,  to  perfect  certain  mine 
devices  for  attachment  to  munition  ships  in  order  to  cripple  them. 
In  a  Hoboken  storage  warehouse  was  found  a  quantity  of  picric 
acid  he  had  deposited  there,  with  a  number  of  steel  mine  tanks, 
each  fitted  with  an  attachment  for  hooking  to  the  rudder  of  a 
vessel,  and  clockwork  and  wire  to  fire  the  explosive  in  the  tanks. 
In  rooms  occupied  by  Fay  and  Scholz  were  dynamite  and  trinitro- 
toluol (known  as  T-N-T),  many  caps  of  fulminate  of  mercury, 
and  Government  survey  maps  of  the  eastern  coast  line  and  New 
York  Harbor.  The  conspirators'  equipment  included  a  fast  motor 
boat  that  could  dart  up  and  down  the  rivers  and  along  the  water 
front  where  ships  were  moored,  a  high-powered  automobile,  and 
four  suit  cases  containing  a  number  of  disguises.    The  purpose  of 

B— War  St.  S 

16  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  enterprise  was  to  stop  shipments  of  arms  and  ammunitions 
to  the  Allies.  The  disabling  of  ships,  said  Fay,  was  the  sole  aim, 
without  destruction  of  life.  To  this  end  he  had  been  experiment- 
ing for  several  months  on  a  waterproof  mine  and  a  detonating 
device  that  would  operate  by  the  swinging  of  a  rudder,  to  which 
the  mine  would  be  attached,  controlled  by  a  clock  timed  to  cause 
the  explosion  on  the  high  seas.  The  German  secret  service,  both 
Fay  and  Scholz  said,  had  provided  them  with  funds  to  pursue 
their  object.  Fay's  admission  to  the  police  contained  these  state- 
ments : 

"I  saw  Captain  Boy-Ed  and  Captain  von  Papen  on  my  arrival 
in  this  country.  Captain  Boy-Ed  told  me  that  I  was  doing  a 
dangerous  thing.  He  said  that  political  complications  would  re- 
sult and  he  most  assuredly  could  not  approve  of  my  plans.  When 
I  came  to  this  country,  however,  I  had  letters  of  introduction  to 
both  those  gentlemen.  Both  men  warned  me  not  to  do  anything  of 
the  kind  I  had  in  mind.  Captain  von  Papen  strictly  forbade  me 
to  attach  any  of  the  mines  to  any  of  the  ships  leaving  the  harbors 
of  the  United  States.  But  anyone  who  wishes  to,  can  read  be- 
tween the  lines. 

"The  plan  on  which  I  worked  was  to  place  a  mine  on  the  rudder 
post  so  that  when  it  exploded  it  would  destroy  the  rudder  and 
leave  the  ship  helpless.  There  was  no  danger  of  any  person  being 
killed.  But  by  this  explosion  I  would  render  the  ship  useless  and 
make  the  shipment  of  munitions  so  difficult  that  the  owners  of 
ships  would  be  intimidated  and  cause  insurance  rates  to  go  so 
high  that  the  shipment  of  ammunition  would  be  seriously 
affected,  if  not  stopped." 

The  Federal  officials  questioned  the  statement  that  Fay's  de- 
sign was  merely  to  cripple  munition  ships.  Captain  Harold  C. 
Woodward  of  the  Corps  of  Engineers,  a  Government  speciahst 
on  explosives,  held  that  if  the  amount  of  explosive,  either  trinitro- 
toluol, or  an  explosive  made  from  chlorate  of  potash  and  benzol, 
required  by  the  mine  caskets  found  in  Fay's  possession,  was  fired 
against  a  ship's  rudder,  it  would  tear  open  tht  stern  and  destroy 
the  entire  ship,  if  not  its  passengers  and  crew,  so  devastating 
would  be  the  explosive  force.    A  mine  of  the  size  Fay  used,  three 


feet  long  and  ten  inches  by  ten  inches,  he  said,  would  contain 
over  two  cubic  feet : 

"If  the  mine  was  filled  with  trinitrotoluol  the  weight  of  the 
high  explosive  would  be  about  180  pounds.  If  it  was  filled  with  a 
mixture  of  chlorate  of  potash  and  benzol  the  weight  would  be 
probably  110  pounds.  Either  charge  if  exploded  on  the  rudder 
post  would  blow  a  hole  in  the  ship. 

"The  amount  of  high  explosive  put  into  a  torpedo  or  a  sub- 
marine mine  is  only  about  200  pounds.  It  must^ot  be  forgotten 
that  water  is  practically  noncompressible,  and  that  even  if  the 
explosion  did  not  take  place  against  the  ship  the  effect  would  be 
practically  the  same.  Oftentimes  a  ship  is  sunk  by  the  explosion 
of  a  torpedo  or  a  mine  several  feet  from  the  hull. 

"Furthermore,  if  the  ship  loaded  with  dynamite  or  high  ex- 
plosive, and  the  detonating  wave  of  the  first  explosion  reaches 
that  cargo,  the  cargo  also  would  explode.  In  high  explosives  the 
detonating  wave  in  the  percussion  cap  explodes  the  charge  in 
much  the  same  manner  in  which  a  chord  struck  on  a  piano  will 
make  a  picture  wire  on  the  wall  vibrate  if  both  the  wire  and  the 
piano  string  are  tuned  alike. 

"Accordingly,  if  a  ship  carrying  tons  of  high  explosive  is  at- 
tacked from  the  outside  by  a  mine  containing  100  pounds  of 
similar  explosive,  the  whole  cargo  would  go  up  and  nothing  would 
remain  of  either  ship  or  cargo." 

Therefore  the  charge  made  against  Fay  and  Scholz,  and  four 
other  men  later  arrested,  Daeche,  Kienzie,  Bronkhorst,  and  Brei- 
tung,  namely,  conspiracy  to  "destroy  a  ship,"  meant  that  and  all 
the  consequences  to  the  lives  of  those  on  board.  Breitung  was  a 
nephew  of  Edward  N.  Breitung,  the  purchaser  of  the  ship  Dacia 
from  German  ownership,  which  was  seized  by  the  French  on  the 
suspicion  that  its  transfer  to  American  registry  was  not  bona  fide. 

The  plot  was  viewed  as  the  most  serious  yet  bared.  Fay  and 
his  confederates  were  credited  with  having  spent  some  $30,000 
on  their  experiments  and  preparations,  and  rumor  credited  them 
with  having  larger  sums  of  money  at  their  command. 

The  press  generally  doubted  if  they  could  have  conducted  their 
operations  without  such  financial  support  being  extended  them  in 

18  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  United  States.  A  design  therefore  was  seen  in  Fay's  state^ 
ment  that  he  was  financed  from  Germany  to  screen  the  source  ol 
this  aid  by  transferring  the  higher  responsibiUty  in  toto  to  official 
persons  in  Germany  who  were  beyond  the  reach  of  American 
justice.  These  and  other  insinuations  directed  at  the  German 
Embassy  produced  a  statement  from  that  quarter  repudiating 
all  knowledge  of  the  Fay  conspiracy,  and  explaining  that  Hi 
attaches  were  frequently  approached  by  "fanatics"  who  wantec 
to  sink  ships  or  destroy  buildings  in  which  munitions  were  made. 

A  similar  conspiracy,  but  embracing  the  destruction  of  rail- 
road bridges  as  well  as  munition  ships  and  factories,  was  later 
revealed  on  the  Pacific  Coast.  Evidence  on  which  indictments 
were  made  against  the  men  Crowley,  Von  Brincken,  and  a 
woman  confederate  aforementioned,  named  Captain  von  Papen, 
the  German  military  attache,  as  the  director  of  the  plot.  The 
accused  were  also  said  to  have  had  the  cooperation  of  the  German 
Consul  General  at  San  Francisco.  The  indictments  charged 
them,  inter  alia,  with  using  the  mails  to  incite  arson,  murder, 
and  assassination.  Among  the  evidence  the  Government  un- 
earthed was  a  letter  referring  to  "P,"  which,  the  Federal  officials 
said,  meant  Captain  von  Papen.  The  letter,  which  related  to  a 
price  to  be  paid  for  the  destruction  of  a  powder  plant  at  Pinole, 
Cal.,  explained  how  the  price  named  had  been  referred  to  others 
"higher  up."    It  read: 

"Dear  Sir :  Your  last  letter  with  clipping  to-day,  and  note  what 
you  have  to  say.  I  have  taken  it  up  with  them  and  'B'  [which 
the  Federal  officials  said  stood  for  Franz  Bopp,  German  Consul 
at  San  Francisco]  is  awaiting  decision  of  'P'  [said  to  stand  for 
Captain  von  Papen  in  New  York] ,  so  cannot  advise  you  yet,  and 
will  do  so  as  soon  as  I  get  word  from  you.  You  might  size  up  the 
situation  in  the  meantime." 

The  indictments  charged  that  the  defendants  planned  to  de- 
stroy munition  plants  at  Aetna  and  Gary,  Ind.,  at  Ishpeming, 
Mich.,  and  at  other  places.  The  Government's  chief  witness, 
named  Van  Koolbergen,  told  of  being  employed  by  Baron  von 
Brincken,  of  the  German  Consulate  at  San  Francisco,  to  make 
and  use  clockwork  bombs  to  destroy  the  commerce  of  neutral 


nations.  For  each  bomb  he  received  $100  and  a  bonus  for  each 
ship  damaged  or  destroyed.  For  destroying  a  railway  trestle  in 
Canada  over  which  supply  trains  for  the  Allies  passed,  he  said  he 
received  first  $250,  and  $300  further  from  a  representative  of  the 
German  Government,  the  second  payment  being  made  upon  his 
producing  newspaper  clippings  recording  the  bridge's  destruc- 
tion. It  appeared  that  Van  Koolbergen  divulged  the  plot  to  the 
Canadian  Government. 

The  three  defendants  and  Van  Koolbergen  were  later  named  in 
another  indictment  found  by  a  San  Francisco  Federal  Grand 
Jury,  involving  in  all  sixty  persons,  including  the  German  Con- 
sul General  in  that  city,  Franz  Bopp,  the  Vice  Consul,  Baron 
Eckhardt,  H.  von  Schack,  Maurice  Hall,  Consul  for  Turkey,  and 
a  number  of  men  identified  with  shipping  and  commercial 

The  case  was  the  first  in  which  the  United  States  Government 
had  asked  for  indictments  against  the  official  representatives  of 
any  of  the  belligerents.  The  warrants  charged  a  conspiracy  to 
violate  the  Sherman  Anti-Trust  Law  by  attempting  to  damage 
plants  manufacturing  munitions  for  the  Allies,  thus  interfering 
with  legitimate  commerce,  and  with  setting  on  foot  military 
expeditions  against  a  friendly  nation  in  connection  with  plans  to 
destroy  Canadian  railway  tunnels. 

The  vice  consul.  Von  Schack,  was  also  indicted  with  twenty-six 
of  the  defendants  on  charges  of  conspiring  to  defraud  the  United 
States  by  sending  supplies  to  German  warships  in  the  earlier 
stages  of  the  war,  the  supplies  having  been  sent  from  New  York 
to  the  German  Consulate  in  San  Francisco.  The  charges  related 
to  the  outfitting  of  five  vessels.  One  of  the  latter,  the  Sacra" 
mento,  now  interned  in  a  Chilean  port,  cleared  from  San  Fran- 
cisco, and  when  out  to  sea,  the  Government  ascertained,  was 
taken  in  command  by  the  wireless  operator,  who  was  really  a 
German  naval  reserve  officer.  Off  the  western  coast  of  South 
America  the  Sacramento  was  supposed  to  have  got  into  wireless 
communication  with  German  cruisers  then  operating  in  the 
Pacific.  There  she  joined  the  squadron  under  a  show  of  com- 
pulsion, as  though  held  up  and  captured.    In  this  guise  the  war 

20  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

vessels  seemingly  convoyed  the  Sacramento  to  an  island  in  the 
Pacific,  where  her  cargo  of  food,  coal,  and  munitions  were  trans- 
ferred to  her  supposed  captors.  The  Sacramento  then  proceeded 
to  a  Chilean  port  where  her  commanding  officer  reported  that  he 
had  been  captured  by  German  warships  and  deprived  of  his 
cargo.  The  Chilean  authorities  doubted  the  story  and  ordered 
the  vessel  to  be  interned. 

Far  more  extensive  were  unlawful  operations  in  this  direction 
conducted  by  officials  of  the  Hamburg- American  line,  as  revealed 
at  their  trial  in  New  York  City  in  November,  1915.  The  indict- 
ments charged  fraud  against  the  United  States  by  false  clear- 
ances and  manifests  for  vessels  chartered  to  provision,  from 
American  ports,  German  cruisers  engaged  in  commerce  destroy- 
ing. The  prosecution  proceeded  on  the  belief  that  the  Hamburg- 
American  activities  were  merely  part  of  a  general  plan  devised 
by  German  and  Austrian  diplomatic  and  consular  officers  to  use 
American  ports,  directly  and  indirectly,  as  war  bases  for  sup- 
plies. The  testimony  in  the  case  involved  Captain  Boy-Ed,  the 
German  naval  attache,  who  was  named  as  having  directed  the 
distribution  of  a  fund  of  at  least  $750,000  for  purposes  de- 
scribed as  "riding  roughshod  over  the  laws  of  the  United  States." 
The  defense  freely  admitted  chartering  ships  to  supply  German 
cruisers  at  sea,  and  in  fact  named  a  list  of  twelve  vessels,  so 
outfitted,  showing  the  amount  spent  for  coal,  provisions,  and 
charter  expenses  to  have  been  over  $1,400,000 ;  but  of  this  out- 
lay only  $20,000  worth  of  supplies  reached  the  German  vessels. 
The  connection  of  Captain  Boy-Ed  with  the  case  suggested  the 
defense  that  the  implicated  officials  consulted  with  him  as  the 
only  representative  in  the  United  States  of  the  German  navy, 
and  were  really  acting  on  direct  orders  from  the  German  Gov- 
ernment, and  not  under  the  direction  of  the  naval  attache.  Mili- 
tary necessity  was  also  a  feasible  ground  for  pleading  justifica- 
tion in  concealing  the  fact  that  the  ships  cleared  to  deliver  their 
cargoes  to  German  war  vessels  instead  of  to  the  ports  named  in 
their  papers.  These  ports  were  professed  to  be  their  ultimate 
destinations  if  the  vessels  failed  to  meet  the  German  cruisers. 
Had  any  other  course  been  pursued,  the  primary  destinations 


would  have  become  publicly  known  and  British  and  other  hostile 
warships  patrolling  the  seas  would  have  been  on  their  guard. 
The  defendants  were  convicted,  but  the  case  remained  open  on 

About  the  same  time  the  criminal  features  of  the  Teutonic 
propaganda  engaged  the  lengthy  attention  of  a  Federal  Grand 
Jury  sitting  in  New  York  City.  A  mass  of  evidence  had  been  ac- 
cumulated by  Government  agents  in  New  York,  Washington,  and 
other  cities.  Part  of  this  testimony  related  to  the  Dumba  and 
Von  Papen  letters  found  in  the  Archibald  dossier.  Another  part 
concerned  certain  revelations  a  former  Austrian  consul  at  San 
Francisco,  Dr.  Joseph  Goricar,  made  to  the  Department  of  Jus- 
tice. This  informant  charged  that  the  German  and  Austrian 
Governments  had  spent  between  $30,000,000  and  $40,000,000  in 
developing  an  elaborate  spy  system  in  the  United  States  with  the 
aim  of  destroying  munition  plants,  obtaining  plans  of  American 
fortifications,  Government  secrets,  and  passports  for  Germans 
desiring  to  return  to  Germany.  These  operations,  he  said,  were 
conducted  with  the  knowledge  of  Count  von  Bemstorff,  the  Ger- 
man Ambassador.  Captains  Boy-Ed  and  Von  Papen  were  also 
named  as  actively  associated  with  the  conspiracy,  as  well  as  Dr. 
von  Nuber,  the  Austrian  Consul  General  in  New  York,  who,  he 
said,  directed  the  espionage  system  and  kept  card  indices  of  spies 
in  his  office. 

The  investigation  involved,  therefore,  diplomatic  agents,  who 
were  exempt  from  prosecution;  a  number  of  consuls  and  other 
men  in  the  employ  of  the  Teutonic  governments  while  presum- 
ably connected  with  trustworthy  firms;  and  notable  German- 
Americans,  some  holding  public  office. 

Contributions  to  the  fund  for  furthering  the  conspiracy,  in 
addition  to  the  substantial  sums  believed  to  be  supplied  by  the 
German  and  Austrian  Governments,  were  said  to  have  come 
freely  from  many  Germans,  citizens  and  otherwise,  resident  in  the 
United  States.  The  project,  put  succinctly,  was  "to  buy  up  or 
blow  up  the  munition  plants."  The  buying  up,  as  previously 
shown,  having  proved  to  be  impracticable,  an  alternative  plan 
presented  itself  to  "tie  up"  the  factories  by  strikes.    This  was 

22  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Dr.  Dumba's  miscarried  scheme,  which  aimed  at  bribing  labor 
leaders  to  induce  workmen,  in  return  for  substantial  strike  pay, 
to  quit  work  in  the  factories.  Allied  to  this  design  was  the  move- 
ment to  forbid  citizens  of  Germany  and  Austria-Hungary  from 
working  in  plants  supplying  munitions  to  their  enemies.  Such 
employment,  they  were  told,  was  treasonable.  The  men  were  of- 
fered high  wages  at  other  occupations  if  they  would  abandon 
their  munition  work.  Teutonic  charity  bazaars  held  throughout 
the  country  and  agencies  formed  to  help  Teutons  out  of  employ- 
ment were  regarded  merely  as  means  to  influence  men  to  leave 
the  munition  plants  and  thus  hamper  the  export  of  war  supplies. 
Funds  were  traced  to  show  how  money  traveled  through  various 
channels  from  the  fountainhead  to  men  working  on  behalf  of 
the  Teutonic  cause.  Various  firms  received  sums  of  money,  to  be 
paid  to  men  ostensibly  in  the  employ  of  the  concerns,  but  who  in 
reality  were  German  agents  working  under  cover. 

Evidence  collected  revealed  these  various  facts  of  the  Teutonic 
conspiracy.  But  the  unfolding  of  such  details  before  the  Grand 
Jury  was  incidental  to  the  search  for  the  men  who  originated  the 
scheme,  acted  as  almoners  or  treasurers,  or  supervised,  as  execu- 
tives, the  horde  of  German  and  Austrian  agents  intriguing  on 
the  lower  slopes  under  their  instructions. 





AND     VON     PAPEN 

TN  this  quest  the  mysterious  movements  and  connections  of 
-*•  one  German  agent  broadly  streaked  the  entire  investigation. 
This  person  was  Von  Rintelen,  supposed  to  be  Dr.  Dumba'a 
closest  lieutenant  ere  that  envoy's  presence  on  American  soil  was 
dispensed  with  by  President  Wilson.    Von  Rintelen's  activities 


belonged  to  the  earlier  period  of  the  war,  before  the  extensive 
ramifications  of  the  criminal  phases  of  the  German  propaganda 
were  known.  At  present  he  was  an  enforced  absentee  from  the 
scenes  of  his  exploits,  being  either  immured  by  the  British  in  the 
Tower  of  London,  or  in  a  German  concentration  camp  as  a  spy. 
This  inglorious  interruption  to  the  role  he  appeared  to  play  while 
in  the  United  States  as  a  peripatetic  Midas,  setting  plots  in  train 
by  means  of  an  overflowing  purse,  was  due  to  an  attempt  to  return 
to  Germany  on  the  liner  Noordam  in  July,  1915.  The  British 
intercepted  him  at  Falmouth,  and  promptly  made  him  a  prisoner 
of  war  after  examining  his  papers. 

Whatever  was  Von  Rintelen's  real  mission  in  the  United  States 
in  the  winter  of  1914-15,  he  was  credited  with  being  a  personal 
emissary  and  friend  of  the  kaiser,  bearing  letters  of  credit  esti- 
mated to  vary  between  $50,000,000  and  $100,000,000.  The  figure 
probably  was  exaggerated  in  view  of  the  acknowledged  inability 
of  the  German  interests  in  the  United  States  to  command  any- 
thing like  the  lesser  sum  named  to  acquire  all  they  wanted — con- 
trol of  the  munition  plants.  His  initial  efforts  appeared  to  have 
been  directed  to  a  wide  advertising  campaign  to  sway  American 
sentiment  against  the  export  of  arms  shipments.  His  energies, 
like  those  of  others,  having  been  fruitless  in  this  field,  he  was 
said  to  have  directed  his  attention  to  placing  large  orders  under 
cover  for  munitions  with  the  object  of  depleting  the  source  of 
such  supplies  for  the  Allies,  and  aimed  to  control  some  of  the 
plants  by  purchasing  their  stocks.  The  investigation  in  these 
channels  thus  contributed  to  confirm  the  New  York  "World's" 
charges  against  German  officialdom,  based  on  its  expose  of  the 
Albert  documents.  Mexican  troubles,  according  to  persistent 
rumor,  inspired  Von  Rintelen  to  use  his  ample  funds  to  draw 
the  United  States  into  conflict  with  its  southern  neighbor  as  a 
means  of  diverting  munition  supplies  from  the  Allies  for  Amer' 
ican  use.  He  and  other  German  agents  were  suspected  of  being 
in  league  with  General  Huerta  with  a  view  to  promoting  a  new 
revolution  in  Mexico. 

The  New  York  Grand  Jury's  investigations  of  Von  Rintelen's 
activities  became  directed  to  his  endeavors  to  "buy  strikes."    The 

24  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

outcome  was  the  indictment  of  officials  of  a  German  organization 
known  under  the  misleading  name  of  the  National  Labor  Peace 
Council.  The  persons  accused  were  Von  Rintelen  himself,  though 
a  prisoner  in  England ;  Frank  Buchanan,  a  member  of  Congress ; 
H.  Robert  Fowler,  a  former  representative;  Jacob  C.  Taylor, 
president  of  the  organization ;  David  Lamar,  who  previously  had 
gained  notoriety  for  impersonating  a  congressman  in  order  to 
obtain  money  and  known  as  the  "Wolf  of  Wall  Street,"  and 
two  others,  named  Martin  and  Schulties,  active  in  the  Labor 
Peace  Council  and  connected  with  a  body  called  the  Antitrust 
League.  They  were  charged  with  having,  in  an  attempt  to  effect 
an  embargo  (which  would  be  in  the  interest  of  Germany)  on 
the  shipment  of  war  supplies,  conspired  to  restrain  foreign  trade 
by  instigating  strikes,  intimidating  employees,  bribing  and 
distributing  money  among  officers  of  labor  organizations.  Von 
Rintelen  was  said  to  have  supplied  funds  to  Lamar  wherewith 
the  Labor  Peace  Council  was  enabled  to  pursue  these  objects. 
One  sum  named  was  $300,000,  received  by  Lamar  from  Von 
Rintelen  for  the  organization  of  this  body;  of  that  sum  Lamar 
was  said  to  have  paid  $170,000  to  men  connected  with  the 

The  Labor  Peace  Council  was  organized  in  the  summer  of 
1915,  and  met  first  in  Washington,  when  resolutions  were  passed 
embracing  proposals  for  international  peace,  but  were  viewed  as 
really  disguising  a  propaganda  on  behalf  of  German  interests. 
The  Government  sought  to  show  that  the  organization  was 
financed  by  German  agents  and  that  its  crusade  was  part  and 
parcel  of  pro-German  movements  whose  ramifications  throughout 
the  country  had  caused  national  concern. 

Von  Rintelen's  manifold  activities  as  chronicled  acquired  a 
tinge  of  romance  and  not  a  little  of  fiction,  but  the  revelations 
concerning  him  were  deemed  sufficiently  serious  by  Germany  to 
produce  a  repudiation  of  him  by  the  German  embassy  on  direct 
instructions  from  Berlin,  i.  e. : 

"The  German  Government  entirely  disavows  Franz  Rintelen, 
and  especially  wished  to  say  that  it  issued  no  instructions  of 
any  kind  which  could  have  led  him  to  violate  American  laws." 


It  is  essential  to  the  record  to  chronicle  that  American  senti- 
ment did  not  accept  German  official  disclaimers  very  seriously. 
They  were  too  prolific,  and  were  viewed  as  apologetic  expedients 
to  keep  the  relations  between  the  two  governments  as  smooth  as 
possible  in  the  face  of  conditions  which  were  daily  imperiling 
those  relations.  Germany  appeared  in  the  position  of  a  Franken- 
stein who  had  created  a  hydra-headed  monster  of  conspiracy  and 
intrigue  that  had  stampeded  beyond  control,  and  washed  her 
hands  of  its  depredations.  The  situation,  however,  was  only 
susceptible  to  this  view  by  an  inner  interpretation  of  the  official 
disclaimers.  In  letter,  but  not  in  spirit,  Germany  disowned  her 
own  offspring  by  repudiating  the  deeds  of  plotters  in  terms 
which  deftly  avoided  revealing  any  ground  for  the  suspicion — 
belied  by  events — that  those  deeds  had  an  official  inception.  Ger- 
many, in  denying  that  the  plotters  were  Government  "agents," 
suggested  that  these  men  pursued  their  operations  with  the 
recognition  that  they  alone  undertook  all  the  risks,  and  that  if 
unmasked  it  was  their  patriotic  duty  not  to  betray  "the  cause," 
which  might  mean  their  country,  the  German  Government,  or 
the  German  officials  who  directed  them.  Not  all  the  exposed  cul- 
prits had  been  equal  to  this  self-abnegating  strain  on  their 
patriotism ;  some,  like  Fay,  were  at  first  talkative  in  their  ad- 
missions that  their  pursuits  were  officially  countenanced,  an- 
other recounted  defense  of  Werner  Horn,  who  attempted  to  de- 
stroy a  bridge  connecting  Canada  and  the  United  States,  even 
went  so  far  as  to  contend  that  the  offense  was  military — an  act 
of  war — and  therefore  not  criminal,  on  the  plea  that  Horn  was 
acting  as  a  German  army  officer.  In  other  cases  incriminating 
evidence  made  needless  the  assumption  of  an  attitude  by  culprits 
of  screening  by  silence  the  complicity  of  superiors.  Yet  despite 
almost  daily  revelations  linking  the  names  of  important  German 
officials,  diplomatic  and  consular,  with  exposed  plots,  a  further 
repudiation  came  from  Berlin  in  December,  1915,  when  the  New 
York  Grand  Jury's  investigation  was  at  high  tide.  This  further 
disavowal  read : 

"The  German  Government,  naturally,  has  never  knowingly  ac- 
cepted the  support  of  any  person,  group  of  persons,  society  or 

26  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

organization  seeking  to  promote  the  cause  of  Germany  in  the 
United  States  by  illegal  acts,  by  counsels  of  violence,  by  contra- 
vention of  law,  or  by  any  means  whatever  that  could  offend  the 
American  people  in  the  pride  of  their  own  authority.  ...  I 
can  only  say,  and  do  most  emphatically  declare  to  Germans 
abroad,  to  German-American  citizens  of  the  United  States,  to 
the  American  people  all  alike,  that  whoever  is  guilty  of  conduct 
tending  to  associate  the  German  cause  with  lawlessness  of 
thought,  suggestion  or  deed  against  life,  property,  and  order  in 
the  United  States  is,  in  fact,  an  enemy  of  that  very  cause  and  a 
source  of  embarrassment  to  the  German  Government,  notwith- 
standing he  or  they  may  believe  to  the  contrary." 

The  stimulus  for  this  politic  disavowal,  and  one  must  be 
sought,  since  German  statements  always  had  a  genesis  in  antece- 
dent events — was  not  apparently  due  to  continued  plot  exposures, 
which  were  too  frequent,  but  could  reasonably  be  traced  to  a 
ringing  address  President  Wilson  had  previously  made  to 
Congress  on  December  7,  1915.  The  President,  amid  the  pro- 
longed applause  of  both  Houses,  meeting  in  joint  session,  de- 
nounced the  unpatriotism  of  many  Americans  of  foreign  descent. 
He  warned  Congress  that  the  gravest  threats  against  the  na- 
tion's peace  and  safety  came  from  within,  not  from  without. 
Without  naming  German-Americans,  he  declared  that  many 
"had  poured  the  poison  of  disloyalty  into  the  very  arteries  of  our 
national  life,"  and  called  for  the  prompt  exercise  of  the  processes 
of  law  to  purge  the  country  "of  the  corrupt  distempers  brought 
on  by  these  citizens." 

"I  am  urging  you,"  he  said  in  solemn  tones,  "to  do  nothing 
less  than  save  the  honor  and  self-respect  of  the  nation.  Such 
creatures  of  passion,  disloyalty,  and  anarchy  must  be  crushed 

Three  days  before  this  denunciation,  the  Administration  had 
demanded  from  Germany  the  recall  of  Captains  Boy-Ed  and  Von 
Papen,  respectively  the  military  aid  and  naval  attache  of  the 
German  embassy.  Unlike  the  procedure  followed  in  requesting 
Dr.  Dumba's  recall,  no  reasons  were  given.  None  according  to 
historic  usage  were  necessary,  and  if  reasons  were  given,  they 


could  not  be  questioned.  It  was  sufficient  that  a  diplomatic 
officer  was  non  persona  grata  by  the  fact  that  his  withdrawal  was 

Germany,  through  her  embassy,  showed  some  obduracy  in 
acting  upon  a  request  for  these  officials'  recall  without  citing  the 
cause  of  complaint.  There  was  an  anxiety  that  neither  should 
be  recalled  with  the  imputation  resting  upon  them  that  they  v/ere 
concerned,  say,  in  the  so-called  Huerta-Mexican  plot — if  one  really 
existed — or  with  the  conspiracies  to  destroy  munition  plants  and 
munition  ships,  or,  in  Captain  Boy-Ed*s  case,  in  the  Hamburg- 
American  line's  chartered  ships  for  provisioning  of  German 
cruisers,  sailing  with  false  manifests  and  clearance  papers. 

An  informal  note  from  Secretary  Lansing  to  Count  von  Bern- 
storff  so  far  acceded  to  the  request  for  a  bill  of  particulars, 
though  not  customary,  that  the  German  embassy  professed  to  be 
satisfied.  Secretary  Lansing  stated  that  Captains  Boy-Ed  and 
Von  Papen  had  rendered  themselves  unacceptable  by  "their  ac- 
tivities in  connection  with  naval  and  military  affairs."  This  was 
intended  to  mean  that  such  activities  here  indicated  had  brought 
the  two  officials  in  contact  with  private  individuals  in  the  United 
States  who  had  been  involved  in  violation  of  the  law.  The  inci- 
dents and  circumstances  of  this  contact  were  of  such  a  cumula- 
tive character  that  the  two  attaches  could  no  longer  be  deemed 
as  acceptable  to  the  American  Government.  Here  was  an  un- 
doubted implication  of  complicity  by  association  with  wrong- 
doers, but  not  in  deed.  The  unofficial  statement  of  the  cause  of 
complaint  satisfied  the  embassy  in  that  it  seemed  to  relieve  the 
two  officers  from  the  imputation  of  themselves  having  violated 
American  laws.  The  record  stood,  however,  that  the  United 
States  had  officially  refused  to  give  any  reasons  for  demanding 
their  recall.  Germany  officially  recalled  them  on  December  10, 
1915,  and  before  the  year  was  out  they  quitted  American  soil 
under  safe  conducts  granted  by  the  British  Government. 

Captain  von  Papen,  however,  was  not  permitted  to  escape  the 
clutches  of  the  British  on  the  ocean  passage.  While  respecting 
his  person,  they  seized  his  papers.  These,  duly  published,  made 
his  complicity  in  the  German  plots  more  pronounced  than  ever. 


28  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

His  check  counterfoils  showed  a  payment  of  ?500  to  "Mr.  de 
Caserta,  Ottawa."  De  Caserta  was  described  in  British  records 
as  "a  dangerous  German  spy,  who  takes  great  risks,  has  lots  of 
ability,  and  wants  lots  of  money."  He  was  supposed  to  have 
been  involved  in  conspiracies  in  Canada  to  destroy  bridges, 
armories,  and  munition  factories.  He  had  offered  his  services  to 
the  British  Government,  but  they  were  rejected.  Later  he  was 
reported  to  have  been  shot  or  hanged  in  London  as  a  spy. 

Another  check  payment  by  Captain  von  Papen  was  to  Werner 
Horn  for  $700.  Horn,  as  before  recorded,  was  the  German  who 
attempted  to  blow  up  a  railroad  bridge  at  Vanceboro,  Maine. 
Other  payments  shown  by  the  Von  Papen  check  book  were  to 
Paul  Koenig,  of  the  Hamburg-American  line.  Koenig  was  ar- 
rested in  New  York  in  December,  1915,  on  a  charge  of  conspir- 
acy with  others  to  set  on  foot  a  military  expedition  from  the 
United  States  to  destroy  the  locks  of  the  Welland  Canal  for  the 
purpose  of  cutting  off  traffic  from  the  Great  Lakes  to  the  St. 
Lawrence  River. 

The  German  qonsul  at  Seattle  was  shown  to  have  received  $500 
l^rom  Captain  von  Papen  shortly  before  an  explosion  occurred 
enere  in  May,  1915,  and  $1,500  three  months  earlier.  Another 
payment  was  to  a  German,  who,  while  under  arrest  in  England 
on  a  charge  of  being  a  spy,  committed  suicide. 





ISSUES  with  Great  Britain  interposed  to  engage  the  Adminis- 
tration's attention,  in  the  brief  intervals  when  Germany's  be- 
havior was  not  doing  so,  to  the  exclusion  of  all  other  international 
controversies  produced  by  the  war.  In  endeavoring  to  balance 
the  scales  between  the  '"'^^tending  belligerents,  the  United  States 


had  to  weigh  judicially  the  fact  that  their  offenses  differed 
greatly  in  degree.  Germany's  crimes  were  the  wanton  slaughter 
of  American  and  other  neutral  noncombatants,  Great  Britain's 
the  wholesale  infringements  of  American  and  neutral  property 
rights.  Protests  menacing  a  rupture  of  relations  had  to  be  made 
in  Germany's  case;  but  those  directed  to  Great  Britain,  though 
not  less  forceful  in  tone,  could  not  equitably  be  accompanied  by 
a  hint  of  the  same  alternative.  Arbitration  by  an  international 
court  was  the  final  recourse  on  the  British  issues.  Arbitration 
could  not  be  resorted  to,  in  the  American  view,  for  adjusting  the 
issues  with  Germany. 

The  Anglo-American  trade  dispute  over  freedom  of  maritime 
commerce  by  neutrals  during  a  war  occupied  an  interlude  in  the 
crisis  with  Germany.  The  dispatch  of  the  third  Lusitania  note 
of  July  21,  1915,  promised  a  breathing  spell  in  the  arduous  diplo- 
matic labors  of  the  Administration,  pending  Germany's  response. 
But  a  few  days  later  the  Administration  became  immersed  in 
Great  Britain's  further  defense  of  her  blockade  methods,  con- 
tained in  a  group  of  three  communications,  one  dated  July  24, 
and  two  July  31,  1915,  in  answer  to  the  American  protests  of 
March  31,  July  14,  and  July  15, 1915.  The  main  document,  dated 
July  24,  1915,  showed  both  Governments  to  be  professing  and 
insisting  upon  a  strict  adherence  to  the  same  principles  of  inter- 
national law,  while  sharply  disagreeing  on  the  question  whether 
measures  taken  by  Great  Britain  conformed  to  those  principles. 

The  United  States  had  objected  to  certain  interferences  with 
neutral  trade  Great  Britain  contemplated  under  her  various 
Orders  in  Council.  The  legality  of  these  orders  the  United  States 
contested.  Great  Britain  was  notified  by  a  caveat,  sent  July  14, 
1915,  that  American  rights  assailed  by  these  interferences  with 
trade  would  be  construed  under  accepted  principles  of  inter- 
national law.  Hence  prize-court  proceedings  based  on  British 
municipal  legislation  not  in  conformity  with  such  principles' 
would  not  be  recognized  as  valid  by  the  United  States. 

Great  Britain  defended  her  course  by  stating  the  premise  that 
a  blockade  was  an  allowable  expedient  in  war — ^which  the  United 
States  did  not  question — and  upon  that  premise  reared  a  struc- 

30  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

ture  of  argument  which  emphasized  the  wide  gap  between  British 
and  American  interpretations  of  international  law.  A  blockade 
being  allowable,  Great  Britain  held  that  it  was  equally  allowable 
to  make  it  effective.  If  the  only  way  to  do  so  was  to  extend  the 
blockade  to  enemy  commerce  passing  through  neutral  ports,  then 
such  extension  was  warranted.  As  Germany  could  conduct  her 
commerce  through  such  ports,  situated  in  contiguous  countries, 
almost  as  effectively  as  through  her  own  ports,  a  blockade  of  Ger- 
man ports  alone  would  not  be  effective.  Hence  the  Allies  asserted 
the  right  to  widen  the  blockade  to  the  German  commerce  of 
neutral  ports,  but  sought  to  distinguish  between  such  commerce 
and  the  legitimate  trade  of  neutrals  for  the  use  and  benefit  of 
their  own  nationals.  Moreover,  the  Allies  forebore  to  apply  the 
rule,  formerly  invariable,  that  ships  with  cargoes  running  a 
blockade  were  condemnable. 

On  the  chief  point  at  issue  Sir  Edward  Grey  wrote : 

"The  contention  which  I  understand  the  United  States  Govern- 
ment now  puts  forward  is  that  if  a  belligerent  is  so  circumstanced 
that  his  commerce  can  pass  through  adjacent  neutral  ports  as 
easily  as  through  ports  in  his  own  territory,  his  opponent  has  no 
right  to  interfere  and  must  restrict  his  measure  of  blockade  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  leave  such  avenues  of  commerce  still  open 
to  his  adversary. 

"This  is  a  contention  which  his  Majesty's  Government  feel 
unable  to  accept  and  which  seems  to  them  unsustained  either  in 
point  of  law  or  upon  principles  of  international  equity.  They  are 
unable  to  admit  that  a  belligerent  violates  any  fundamental 
principle  of  international  law  by  applying  a  blockade  in  such  a 
way  as  to  cut  out  the  enemy's  commerce  with  foreign  countries 
through  neutral  ports  if  the  circumstances  render  such  an  appli- 
cation of  the  principles  of  blockade  the  only  means  of  making  it 

In  this  connection  Sir  Edward  Grey  recalled  the  position  of  the 
United  States  in  the  Civil  War,  when  it  was  under  the  necessity 
of  declaring  a  blockade  of  some  3,000  miles  of  coast  line,  a  mili- 
tary operation  for  which  the  number  of  vessels  available  was  at 
first  very  small : 


"It  was  vital  to  the  cause  of  the  United  States  in  that  great 
struggle  that  they  should  be  able  to  cut  off  the  trade  of  the 
Southern  States.  The  Confederate  armies  were  dependent  on 
supplies  from  overseas,  and  those  supplies  could  not  be  obtained 
without  exporting  the  cotton  wherewith  to  pay  for  them. 

"To  cut  off  this  trade  the  United  States  could  only  rely  upon 
a  blockade.  The  difficulties  confronting  the  Federal  Government 
were  in  part  due  to  the  fact  that  neighboring  neutral  territory 
afforded  convenient  centers  from  which  contraband  could  be 
introduced  into  the  territory  of  their  enemies  and  from  which 
blockade  running  could  be  facilitated. 

"In  order  to  meet  this  new  difficulty  the  old  principles  relating 
to  contraband  and  blockade  were  developed,  and  the  doctrine  of 
continuous  voyage  was  applied  and  enforced,  under  which  goods 
destined  for  the  enemy  territory  were  intercepted  before  they 
reached  the  neutral  ports  from  which  they  were  to  be  reexported. 
The  difficulties  which  imposed  upon  the  United  States  the  neces- 
sity of  reshaping  some  of  the  old  rules  are  somewhat  akin  to 
those  with  which  the  Allies  are  now  faced  in  dealing  with  the 
trade  of  their  enemy." 

Though  an  innovation,  the  extension  of  the  British  blockade 
to  a  surveillance  of  merchandise  passing  in  and  out  of  a  neutral 
port  contiguous  to  Germany  was  not  for  that  reason  impermis- 
sible. Thus  that  preceded  the  British  contention,  which,  more- 
over, recognized  the  essential  thing  to  be  observed  in  changes  of 
law  and  usages  of  war  caused  by  new  conditions  was  that  such 
changes  must  "conform  to  the  spirit  and  principles  of  the  essence 
of  the  rules  of  war."  The  phrase  was  cited  from  the  American 
protest  by  way  of  buttressing  the  argument  to  show  that  the 
United  States  itself,  as  evident  from  the  excerpt  quoted,  had 
freely  made  innovations  in  the  law  of  blockade  within  this  re- 
striction, but  regardless  of  the  views  or  interests  of  neutrals. 
These  American  innovations  in  blockade  methods,  Great  Britain 
maintained,  were  of  the  same  general  character  as  those  adopted 
by  the  allied  powers,  and  Great  Britain,  as  exemplified  in  the 
Springbok  case,  had  assented  to  them.  As  to  the  American  con- 
tention that  there  was  a  lack  of  written  authority  for  the  British 

C— War  St.  5 

82  ■  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

innovations  or  extensions  of  the  law  of  blockade,  the  absence  of 
such  pronouncements  was  deemed  unessential.  Sir  Edward  Grey 
considered  that  the  function  of  writers  on  international  law  was 
to  formulate  existing  principles  and  rules,  not  to  invent  or  dictate 
alterations  adapting  them  to  altered  circumstances. 

So,  to  sum  up,  the  modifications  of  the  old  rules  of  blockade 
adopted  were  viewed  by  Great  Britain  as  in  accordance  with  the 
general  principles  on  which  an  acknowledged  right  of  blockade 
was  based.  They  were  not  only  held  to  be  justified  by  the 
exigencies  of  the  case,  but  could  be  defended  as  consistent  with 
those  general  principles  which  had  been  recognized  by  both 

The  United  States  declined  to  accept  the  view  that  seizures  and 
detentions  of  American  ships  and  cargoes  could  justifiably  be 
made  by  stretching  the  principles  of  international  law  to  fit  war 
conditions  Great  Britain  confronted,  and  assailed  the  legality  of 
the  British  tribunals  which  determined  whether  such  seizures 
were  prizes.    Great  Britain  had  been  informed : 

".  .  .  So  far  as  the  interests  of  American  citizens  are  con- 
cerned the  Government  of  the  United  States  will  insist  upon  their 
rights  under  the  principles  and  rules  of  international  law  as 
hitherto  established,  governing  neutral  trade  in  time  of  war, 
without  limitation  or  impairment  by  order  in  council  or  other 
municipal  legislation  by  the  British  Government,  and  will  not 
recognize  the  validity  of  prize-court  proceedings  taken  under 
restraints  imposed  by  British  municipal  law  in  derogation  of  the 
rights  of  American  citizens  under  international  law." 

British  prize-court  proceedings  had  been  fruitful  of  bitter 
grievances  to  the  State  Department  from  the  American  mer- 
chants affected.  Sir  Edward  Grey  pointed  out  that  American  in- 
terests had  this  remedy  in  challenging  prize-court  verdicts: 

"It  is  open  to  any  United  States  citizen  whose  claim  is  before 
the  prize  court  to  contend  that  any  order  in  council  which  may 
affect  his  claim  is  inconsistent  with  the  principles  of  international 
law,  and  is,  therefore,  not  binding  upon  the  court. 

"If  the  prize  court  declines  to  accept  his  contentions,  and  if, 
^fter  such  a  decision  has  been  upheld  on  appeal  by  the  judicial 


committee  of  His  Majesty's  Privy  Council,  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  considers  that  there  is  serious  ground  for  holding 
that  the  decision  is  incorrect  and  infringes  the  rights  of  their 
citizens,  it  is  open  to  them  to  claim  that  it  should  be  subjected 
to  review  by  an  international  tribunal." 

One  complaint  of  the  United  States,  made  on  July  15,  1915,  had 
been  specifically  directed  to  the  action  of  the  British  naval 
authorities  in  seizing  the  American  steamer  Neches,  sailing  from 
Rotterdam  to  an  American  port,  with  a  general  cargo.  The 
ground  advanced  to  sustain  this  action  was  that  the  goods  orig- 
inated in  part  at  least  in  Belgium,  and  hence  came  within  the 
Order  in  Council  of  March  11,  1915,  which  stipulated  that  every 
merchant  vessel  sailing  from  a  port  other  than  a  German  port, 
carrying  goods  of  enemy  origin,  might  be  required  to  discharge 
such  goods  in  a  British  or  allied  port.  The  Neches  had  been 
detained  at  the  Downs  and  then  brought  to  London.  Belgian 
goods  were  viewed  as  being  of  "enemy  origin,"  because  coming 
from  territory  held  by  Germany.  This  was  the  first  specific  case 
of  the  kind  arising  under  British  Orders  in  Council  affecting 
American  interests,  the  goods  being  consigned  to  United  States 

Great  Britain  on  July  31,  1915,  justified  her  seizure  of  the 
Neches  as  coming  within  the  application  of  her  extended  block- 
ade, as  previously  set  forth,  which  with  great  pains  she  had 
sought  to  prove  to  the  United  States  was  permissible,  under  in- 
ternational law.  Her  defense  in  the  Neches  case,  however,  was 
viewed  as  weakened  by  her  citing  Germany's  violations  of  inter- 
national law  to  excuse  her  extension  of  old  blockade  principles  to 
the  peculiar  circumstances  of  the  present  war.  In  intimating 
that  so  long  as  neutrals  tolerated  the  German  submarine  war- 
fare, they  ought  not  to  press  her  to  abandon  blockade  measures 
that  were -a  consequence  of  that  warfare.  Great  Britain  was 
regarded  as  lowering  her  defense  toward  the  level  of  the  posi- 
tion taken  by  Germany.  Sir  Edward  Grey's  plan  was  thus 
phrased : 

"His  Majesty's  Government  are  not  aware,  except  from  the 
published  correspondence  between  the  United  States  and  Ger- 


many,  to  what  extent  reparation  has  been  claimed  from  Germany 
by  neutrals  for  loss  of  ships,  lives,  and  cargoes,  nor  how  far  these 
acts  have  been  the  subject  even  of  protest  by  the  neutral  govern- 
ments concerned. 

"While  these  acts  of  the  German  Government  continue,  it 
seems  neither  reasonable  nor  just  that  His  Majesty's  Government 
should  be  pressed  to  abandon  the  rights  claimed  in  the  British 
note  and  to  allow  goods  from  Germany  to  pass  freely  through 
waters  effectively  patrolled  by  British  ships  of  war." 

Such  appeals  the  American  Government  had  sharply  repudi- 
ated in  correspondence  with  Germany  on  the  submarine  issue. 
Great  Britain,  however,  unlike  Germany,  did  not  admit  that  the 
blockade  was  a  reprisal,  and  therefore  without  basis  of  law,  on 
the  contrary,  she  contended  that  it  was  a  legally  justifiable 
measure  for  meeting  Germany's  illegal  acts. 

The  British  presentation  of  the  case  commanded  respect, 
though  not  agreement,  as  an  honest  endeavor  to  build  a  defense 
from  basic  facts  and  principles  by  logical  methods.  One  com- 
mendatory view,  while  not  upholding  the  contentions,  paid  Sir 
Edward  Grey's  handling  of  the  British  defense  a  generous  tribute, 
albeit  at  the  expense  of  Germany : 

"It  makes  no  claim  which  offends  humane  sentiment  or  affronts 
the  sense  of  natural  right.  It  makes  no  insulting  proposal  for 
the  barter  or  sale  of  honor,  and  it  resorts  to  no  tricks  or  evasions 
in  the  way  of  suggested  compromise.  It  seeks  in  no  way  to  enlist 
this  country  as  an  auxiliary  to  the  allied  cause  under  sham  pre- 
tenses of  humane  intervention." 

The  task  before  the  State  Department  of  making  a  convincing 
reply  to  Sir  Edward  Grey's  skillful  contentions  was  generally 
regarded  as  one  that  would  test  Secretary  Lansing's  legal  re- 
sources. The  problem  was  picturesquely  sketched  by  the  New 
York  "Times": 

"The  American  eagle  has  by  this  time  discovered  that  the  shaft 
directed  against  him  by  Sir  Edward  Grey  was  feathered  with  his 
own  plumage.  To  meet  our  contentions  Sir  Edward  cites  our 
own  seizures  and  our  own  court  decisions.  It  remains  to  be  seen 
whether  out  of  strands  plucked  from  the  mane  and  tail  of  the 


British  lion  we  can  fashion  a  bowstring  which  will  give  effec- 
tive momentum  to  a  counterbolt  launched  in  the  general  direction 
of  Downing  Street." 



AND      INEFFECTIVE      BY      THE      UNITED 



SECRETARY  Lansing  succeeded  in  accomplishing  the  diffi- 
cult task  indicated  at  the  conclusion  of  the  previous  chapter. 
The  American  reply  to  the  British  notes  was  not  dispatched  until 
October  21,  1915,  further  friction  with  Germany  having  inter- 
vened over  the  Arabic,  It  constituted  the  long-deferred  protest 
which  ex-Secretary  Bryan  vainly  urged  the  President  to  make  to 
Great  Britain  simultaneously  with  the  sending  of  the  third 
Lnsitania  note  to  Germany.  The  President  declined  to  consider 
the  issues  on  the  same  footing  or  as  susceptible  to  equitable 
diplomatic  survey  unless  kept  apart. 

The  note  embraced  a  study  of  eight  British  communications 
made  to  the  American  Government  in  1915  up  to  August  13,  re- 
lating to  blockade  restrictions  on  American  commerce  imposed 
by  Great  Britain.  It  had  been  delayed  in  the  hope  that  the  an- 
nounced intention  of  the  British  Government  "to  exercise  their 
belligerent  rights  with  every  possible  consideration  for  the  inter- 
est of  neutrals,"  and  their  intention  of  "removing  all  causes  of 
avoidable  delay  in  dealing  with  American  cargoes,"  and  of  caus- 
ing "the  least  possible  amount  of  inconvenience  to  persons  en- 
gaged in  legitimate  trade,"  as  well  as  their  "assurance  to  the 
"United  States  Government  that  they  would  make  it  their  first 
aim  to  minimize  the  inconveniences"  resulting  from  the  "meas- 
ures taken  by  the  allied  governments,"  would  in  practice  not  un- 
justifiably infringe  upon  the  neutral  rights  of  American  citizens 
engaged  in  trade  and  commerce.    The  hope  had  not  been  realized. 

36  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  detentions  of  American  vessels  and  cargoes  since  the 
opening  of  hostilities,  presumably  under  the  British  Orders  in 
Council  of  August  20  and  October  29,  1914,  and  March  11,  1915, 
formed  one  specific  complaint.  In  practice  these  detentions,  thel 
United  States  contended,  had  not  been  uniformly  based  on  proofs 
obtained  at  the  time  of  seizure.  Many  vessels  had  been  detained 
while  search  was  made  for  evidence  of  the  contraband  character 
of  cargoes,  or  of  intention  to  evade  the  nonintercourse  measures 
of  Great  Britain.  The  question  became  one  of  evidence  to  sup- 
port a  belief — in  many  cases  a  bare  suspicion — of  enemy  destina- 
tion or  of  enemy  origin  of  the  goods  involved.  The  United  States 
raised  the  point  that  this  evidence  should  be  obtained  by  search 
at  sea,  and  that  the  vessel  and  cargo  should  not  be  taken  to  a 
British  port  for  the  purpose  unless  incriminating  circumstances 
warranted  such  action.  International  practice  to  support  this 
view  was  cited.  Naval  orders  of  the  United  States,  Great  Britain, 
Russia,  Japan,  Spain,  Germany,  and  France  from  1888  to  the 
opening  of  the  present  war  showed  that  search  in  port  was  not 
contemplated  by  the  government  of  any  of  these  countries. 

Great  Britain  had  contended  that  the  American  objection  to 
search  at  sea  was  inconsistent  with  American  practice  during 
the  Civil  War.  Secretary  Lansing  held  that  the  British  view 
of  the  American  sea  policy  of  that  period  was  based  on  a 
misconception : 

"Irregularities  there  may  have  been  at  the  beginning  of  that 
war,  but  a  careful  search  of  the  records  of  this  Government  as 
to  the  practice  of  its  commanders  shows  conclusively  that  there 
were  no  instances  when  vessels  were  brought  into  port  for  search 
prior  to  instituting  prize  court  proceedings,  or  that  captures 
were  made  upon  other  grounds  than,  in  the  words  of  the  Ameri- 
can note  of  November  7,  1914,  evidence  found  on  the  ship  under 
investigation  and  not  upon  circumstances  ascertained  from  ex- 
ternal sources."  Mii^b 

Great  Britain  justified  bringing  vessels  to  port  for  search  be- 
cause of  the  size  and  seaworthiness  of  modem  carriers  and  the 
difficulty  of  uncovering  at  sea  the  real  transaction  owing  to  the 
intricacy  of  modern  trade  operations.    The  United  States  sub- 


mitted  that  such  commercial  transactions  were  essentially  no 
more  complex  and  disguised  than  in  previous  wars,  during  which 
the  practice  of  obtaining  evidence  in  port  to  determine  whether 
a  vessel  should  be  held  for  prize-court  proceedings  was  not 
adopted.  As  to  the  effect  of  size  and  seaworthiness  of  merchant 
vessels  upon  search  at  sea,  a  board  of  naval  experts  reported : 

"The  facilities  for  boarding  and  inspection  of  modern  ships 
are  in  fact  greater  than  in  former  times,  and  no  difference,  so 
far  as  the  necessities  of  the  case  are  concerned,  can  be  seen  be- 
tween the  search  of  a  ship  of  a  thousand  tons  and  one  of  twenty 
thousand  tons,  except  possibly  a  difference  in  time,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  establishing  fully  the  character  of  her  cargo  and  the 
nature  of  her  service  and  destination." 

The  new  British  practice,  which  required  search  at  port  in- 
stead of  search  at  sea,  in  order  that  extrinsic  evidence  might  be 
sought  (i.  e.,  evidence  other  than  that  derived  from  an  examina- 
tion of  the  ship  at  sea) ,  had  this  effect : 

"Innocent  vessels  or  cargoes  are  now  seized  and  detained  on 
mere  suspicion  while  efforts  are  made  to  obtain  evidence  from  ex- 
traneous sources  to  justify  the  detention  and  the  commencement 
of  prize  proceedings.  The  effect  of  this  new  procedure  is  to 
subject  traders  to  risk  of  loss,  delay  and  expense  so  great  and  so 
burdensome  as  practically  to  destroy  much  of  the  export  trade 
of  the  United  States  to  neutral  countries  of  Europe." 

The  American  note  next  assailed  the  British  interpretation  of 
the  greatly  increased  imports  of  neutral  countries  adjoining 
Great  Britain's  enemies.  These  increases.  Sir  Edward  Grey  con- 
tended, raised  a  presumption  that  certain  commodities  useful  for 
military  purposes,  though  destined  for  those  countries,  were  in- 
tended for  reexportation  to  the  belligerents,  who  could  not  im- 
port them  directly.  Hence  the  detention  of  vessels  bound  for 
the  ports  of  those  neutral  countries  was  justified.  Secretary 
Lansing  denied  that  this  contention  could  be  accepted  as  laying 
down  a  just  and  legal  rule  of  evidence : 

"Such  a  presumption  is  too  remote  from  the  facts  and  offers 
too  great  opportunity  for  abuse  by  the  belligerent,  who  could,  if 
the  rule  were  adopted,  entirely  ignore  neutral  rights  on  the  high 

38  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

seas  and  prey  with  impunity  upon  neutral  commerce.  To  such 
a  rule  of  legal  presumption  this  Government  cannot  accede,  as  it 
is  opposed  to  those  fundamental  principles  of  justice  which  are 
the  foundation  of  the  jurisprudence  of  the  United  States  and 
Great  Britain." 

In  this  connection  Secretary  Lansing  seized  upon  the  British 
admission,  made  in  the  correspondence,  that  British  exports  to 
those  neutral  countries  had  materially  increased  since  the  war 
began.  Thus  Great  Britain  concededly  shared  in  creating  a  con- 
dition relied  upon  as  a  sufficient  ground  to  justify  the  intercep- 
tion of  American  goods  destined  to  neutral  European  ports.  The 
American  view  of  this  condition  was : 

"If  British  exports  to  those  ports  should  be  still  further  in- 
creased, it  is  obvious  that  under  the  rule  of  evidence  contended 
for  by  the  British  Government,  the  presumption  of  enemy 
destinations  could  be  applied  to  a  greater  number  of  American 
cargoes,  and  American  trade  would  suffer  to  the  extent  that 
British  trade  benefited  by  the  increase.  Great  Britain  cannot 
expect  the  United  States  to  submit  to  such  manifest  injustice  or 
to  permit  the  rights  of  its  citizens  to  be  so  seriously  impaired. 

"When  goods  are  clearly  intended  to  become  incorporated  in 
the  mass  of  merchandise  for  sale  in  a  neutral  country  it  is  an  un- 
warranted and  inquisitorial  proceeding  to  detain  shipments  for 
examination  as  to  whether  those  goods  are  ultimately  destined 
for  the  enemy's  country  or  use.  Whatever  may  be  the  con- 
jectural conclusions  to  be  drawn  from  trade  statistics,  which, 
when  stated  by  value,  are  of  uncertain  evidence  as  to  quantity, 
the  United  States  maintains  the  right  to  sell  goods  into  the  gen- 
eral stock  of  a  neutral  country,  and  denounces  as  illegal  and  un- 
justifiable any  attempt  of  a  belligerent  to  interfere  with  that 
right  on  the  ground  that  it  suspects  that  the  previous  supply  of 
such  goods  in  the  neutral  country,  which  the  imports  renew  or 
replace,  has  been  sold  to  an  enemy.  That  is  a  matter  with  which 
the  neutral  vendor  has  no  concern  and  which  can  in  no  way  af- 
fect his  rights  of  trade." 

The  British  practice  had  run  counter  to  the  assurances  Great 
Britain  made  in  establishing  the  blockade,  which  was  to  be  so 


extensive  as  to  prohibit  all  trade  with  Germany  or  Austria- 
Hungary,  even  through  the  ports  of  neutral  countries  adjacent 
to  them.  Great  Britain  admitted  that  the  blockade  should  not, 
and  promised  that  it  would  not,  interfere  with  the  trade  of 
countries  contiguous  to  her  enemies.  Nevertheless,  after  six 
months'  experience  of  the  "blockade,"  the  United  States  Gov- 
ernment was  convinced  that  Great  Britain  had  been  unsuc- 
cessful in  her  efforts  to  distinguish  between  enemy  and  neutral 

The  United  States  challenged  the  validity  of  the  blockade  be- 
cause it  was  ineffective  in  stopping  all  trade  with  Great  Britain's 
enemies.  A  blockade,  to  be  binding,  must  be  maintained  by  force 
sufficient  to  prevent  all  access  to  the  coast  of  the  enemy,  accord- 
ing to  the  Declaration  of  Paris  of  1856,  which  the  American  note 
quoted  as  correctly  stating  the  international  rule  as  to  blockade 
that  was  universally  recognized.  The  effectiveness  of  a  blockade 
was  manifestly  a  question  of  fact : 

"It  is  common  knowledge  that  the  German  coasts  are  open  to 
trade  with  the  Scandinavian  countries  and  that  German  naval 
vessels  cruise  both  in  the  North  Sea  and  the  Baltic  and  seize  and 
bring  into  German  ports  neutral  vessels  bound  for  Scandinavian 
and  Danish  ports.  Furthermore,  from  the  recent  placing  of 
cotton  on  the  British  list  of  contraband  of  war  it  appears  that 
the  British  Government  had  themselves  been  forced  to  the  con- 
clusion that  the  blockade  is  ineffective  to  prevent  shipments  of 
cotton  from  reaching  their  enemies,  or  else  that  they  are  doubt- 
ful as  to  the  legality  of  the  form  of  blockade  which  they  have 
sought  to  maintain." 

Moreover,  a  blockade  must  apply  impartially  to  the  ships  of  all 
nations.  The  American  note  cited  the  Declaration  of  London  and 
the  prize  rules  of  Germany,  France,  and  Japan,  in  support  of  that 
principle.  In  addition,  "so  strictly  has  this  principle  been 
enforced  in  the  past  that  in  the  Crimean  War  the  Judicial  Com- 
mittee of  the  Privy  Council  on  appeal  laid  down  that  if  belliger- 
ents themselves  trade  with  blockaded  ports  they  cannot  be  re- 
garded as  effectively  blockaded.  (The  Franciska,  Moore,  P.  C. 
56).    This  decision  has  special  significance  at  the  present  time 

40  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

since  it  is  a  matter  of  common  knowledge  that  Great  Britain  ex- 
ports and  reexports  large  quantities  of  merchandise  to  Norway, 
Sweden,  Denmark,  and  Holland,  whose  ports,  so  far  as  American 
commerce  is  concerned,  she  regards  as  blockaded." 

Finally,  the  law  of  nations  forbade  the  blockade  of  neutral 
ports  in  time  of  war.  The  Declaration  of  London  specifically 
stated  that  "the  blockading  forces  must  not  bar  access  to  neutral 
ports  or  coasts."  This  pronouncement  the  American  Govern- 
ment considered  a  correct  statement  of  the  universally  accepted 
law  as  it  existed  to-day  and  prior  to  the  Declaration  of  London. 
Though  not  regarded  as  binding  upon  the  signatories  because 
not  ratified  by  them,  the  Declaration  of  London,  the  American 
note  pointed  out,  had  been  expressly  adopted  by  the  British  Gov- 
ernment, without  modification  as  to  blockade,  in  the  Order  in 
Council  of  October  9,  1914.  More  than  that.  Secretary  Lansing 
recalled  the  views  of  the  British  Government  "founded  on  the 
decisions  of  the  British  Courts,"  as  expressed  by  Sir  Edward 
Grey  in  instructing  the  British  delegates  to  the  conference  which 
formulated  the  Declaration  of  London,  and  which  had  assembled 
in  that  city  on  the  British  Government's  invitation  in  1907. 
These  views  were : 

"A  blockade  must  be  confined  to  the  ports  and  coast  of  the 
enemy,  but  it  may  be  instituted  of  one  port  or  of  several  ports 
or  of  the  whole  of  the  seaboard  of  the  enemy.  It  may  be  insti- 
tuted to  prevent  the  ingress  only,  or  egress  only,  or  both." 

The  United  States  Government  therefore  concluded  that, 
measured  by  the  three  universally  conceded  tests  above  set  forth, 
the  British  policy  could  not  be  regarded  as  constituting  a  block- 
ade in  law,  in  practice,  or  in  effect.  So  the  British  Government 
was  notified  that  the  American  Government  declined  to  recog- 
nize such  a  "blockade"  as  legal. 

Stress  had  been  laid  by  Great  Britain  on  the  ruling  of  the 
Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  on  the  SpringboJc  case.  The 
ruling  was  that  goods  of  contraband  character,  seized  while 
going  to  the  neutral  port  of  Nassau,  though  actually  bound  foi* 
the  blockaded  ports  of  the  South,  were  subject  to  condemnation. 
Secretary  Lansing  recalled  that  Sir  Edward  Grey,  in  his  instrue- 


tion  to  the  British  delegates  to  the  London  conference  before 
mentioned,  expressed  this  view  of  the  case,  as  held  in  England 
prior  to  the  present  war : 

"It  is  exceedingly  doubtful  whether  the  decision  of  the  Su- 
preme Court  was  in  reality  meant  to  cover  a  case  of  blockade 
running  in  which  no  question  of  contraband  arose.  Certainly  if 
such  was  the  intention  the  decision  would  pro  tanto  be  in  con- 
flict with  the  practice  of  the  British  courts.  His  Majesty's 
Government  sees  no  reason  for  departing  from  that  practice,  and 
you  should  endeavor  to  obtain  general  recognition  of  its 

The  American  note  also  pointed  out  that  "the  circumstances 
surrounding  the  Springbok  case  were  essentially  different  from 
those  of  the  present  day  to  which  the  rule  laid  down  in  that  case 
is  sought  to  be  applied.  When  the  Springbok  case  arose  the 
ports  of  the  confederate  states  were  effectively  blockaded  by  the 
naval  forces  of  the  United  States,  though  no  neutral  ports  were 
closed,  and  a  continuous  voyage  through  a  neutral  port  required 
an  all  sea  voyage  terminating  in  an  attempt  to  pass  the  blockad- 
ing squadron." 

Secretary  Lansing  interjected  new  elements  into  the  contro- 
versy in  assailing  as  unlawful  the  jurisdiction  of  British  prize 
courts  over  neutral  vessels  seized  or  detained.  Briefly,  Great 
Britain  arbitrarily  extended  her  domestic  law,  through  the  pro- 
mulgation of  Orders  in  Council,  to  the  high  seas,  which  the 
American  Government  contended  were  subject  solely  to  interna- 
tional law.  So  these  Orders  in  Council,  under  which  the  British 
naval  authorities  acted  in  making  seizures  of  neutral  shipping, 
and  under  which  the  prize  courts  pursued  their  procedure,  were 
viewed  as  usurping  international  law.  The  United  States  held 
that  Great  Britain  could  not  extend  the  territorial  jurisdiction  of 
her  domestic  law  to  cover  seizures  on  the  high  seas.  A  recourse 
to  British  prize  courts  by  American  claimants,  governed  as  those 
courts  were  by  the  same  Orders  in  Council  which  determined  the 
conditions  under  which  seizures  and  detentions  were  made,  con- 
stituted in  the  American  view,  the  form  rather  than  the  sub- 
stance of  redress : 

42  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"It  is  manifest,  therefore,  that,  if  prize  courts  are  bound  by 
the  laws  and  regulations  under  which  seizures  and  detentions 
are  made,  and  which  claimants  allege  are  in  contravention  of  the 
law  of  nations,  those  courts  are  powerless  to  pass  upon  the  real 
ground  of  complaint  or  to  give  redress  for  wrongs  of  this  na- 
ture. Nevertheless,  it  is  seriously  suggested  that  claimants  are 
free  to  request  the  prize  court  to  rule  upon  a  claim  of  conflict  be- 
tween an  Order  in  Council  and  a  rule  of  international  law.  How 
can  a  tribunal  fettered  in  its  jurisdiction  and  procedure  by  munic- 
ipal enactments  declare  itself  emancipated  from  their  restric- 
tions and  at  liberty  to  apply  the  rules  of  international  law  with 
freedom?  The  very  laws  and  regulations  which  bind  the  court 
are  now  matters  of  dispute  between  the  Government  of  the 
United  States  and  that  of  His  Britannic  Majesty." 

The  British  Government,  in  pursuit  of  its  favorite  device  of 
seeking  in  American  practice  parallel  instances  to  justify  her 
prize-court  methods,  had  contended  that  the  United  States,  in 
Civil  War  contraband  cases,  had  also  referred  foreign  claimants 
to  its  prize  courts  for  redress.  Great  Britain  at  the  time  of  the 
American  Civil  War,  according  to  an  earlier  British  note,  "in 
spite  of  remonstrances  from  many  quarters,  placed  full  reliance 
on  the  American  prize  courts  to  grant  redress  to  the  parties  in- 
terested in  cases  of  alleged  wrongful  capture  by  American  ships 
of  war  and  put  forward  no  claim  until  the  opportunity  for  re- 
dress in  those  courts  had  been  exhausted." 

This  did  not  appear  to  be  altogether  the  case.  Secretary  Lan- 
sing pointed  out  that  Great  Britain,  during  the  progress  of  the 
Civil  War,  had  demanded  in  several  instances,  through  diplo- 
matic channels,  while  cases  were  pending,  damages  for  seizures 
and  detentions  of  British  ships  alleged  to  have  been  made  with- 
out legal  justification.  Moreover,  "it  is  understood  also  that 
during  the  Boer  War,  when  British  authorities  seized,. the  Ger- 
man vessels,  the  Herzog,  the  General  and  the  Bundesrath,  and 
released  them  without  prize  court  proceedings,  compensation  for 
damages  suffered  was  arranged  through  diplomatic  channels." 

The  point  made  here  was  by  way  of  negativing  the  position 
Great  Britain  now  took  that,  pending  the  exhaustion  of  legal 


remedies  through  the  prize  courts  with  the  result  of  a  denial  of 
justice  to  American  claimants,  "it  cannot  continue  to  deal 
through  the  diplomatic  channels  with  the  individual  cases." 

The  United  States  summed  up  its  protest  against  the  British 
practice  of  adjudicating  on  the  interference  with  American  ship- 
ping and  commerce  on  the  high  seas  under  British  municipal 
law  as  follows : 

"The  Government  of  the  United  States,  has,  therefore,  viewed 
with  surprise  and  concern  the  attempt  of  His  Majesty's  Govern- 
ment to  confer  upon  the  British  prize  courts  jurisdiction  by  this 
illegal  exercise  of  force  in  order  that  these  courts  may  apply  to 
vessels  and  cargoes  of  neutral  nationalities,  seized  on  the  high 
seas,  municipal  laws  and  orders  which  can  only  rightfully  be  en- 
forceable within  the  territorial  waters  of  Great  Britain,  or 
against  vessels  of  British  nationality  when  on  the  high  seas. 

"In  these  circumstances  the  United  States  Government  feels 
that  it  cannot  reasonably  be  expected  to  advise  its  citizens  to 
seek  redress  before  tribunals  which  are,  in  its  opinion,  unauthor- 
ized by  the  unrestricted  application  of  international  law  to  grant 
reparation,  nor  to  refrain  from  presenting  their  claims  directly 
to  the  British  Government  through  diplomatic  channels." 

The  note,  as  the  foregoing  series  of  excerpts  show,  presented 
an  array  of  legal  arguments  formidable  enough  to  persuade  any 
nation  at  war  of  its  wrongdoing  in  adopting  practices  that 
caused  serious  money  losses  to  American  interests  and  demoral- 
ized American  trade  with  neutral  Europe.  Great  Britain,  how- 
ever, showed  that  she  was  not  governed  by  international  law 
except  in  so  far  as  it  was  susceptible  to  an  elastic  interpretation, 
and  held,  by  implication,  that  a  policy  of  expediency  imposed  by 
modem  war  conditions  condoned,  if  it  did  not  also  sanction, 

Nothing  in  Great  Britain's  subsequent  actions,  nor  in  the  utter- 
ances of  her  statesmen,  could  be  construed  as  promising  any 
abatement  of  the  conditions.  In  fact,  there  was  an  outcry  in 
England  that  the  German  blockade  should  be  more  stringent  by 
extending  it  to  all  neutral  ports.  Sir  Edward  Grey  duly  con- 
vinced the  House  of  Commons  that  the  Government  could  not 

44  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

contemplate  such  a  course,  which  he  viewed  as  needless,  as  well 
as  a  wrong  to  neutrals. 

As  to  the  hostility  of  the  neutrals  to  British  blockade  methods, 
Sir  Edward  Grey  said : 

"What  I  would  say  to  neutrals  is  this :  There  is  one  main  ques- 
tion to  be  answered — Do  they  admit  our  right  to  apply  the  prin- 
ciples which  were  applied  by  the  American  Government  in  the 
war  between  the  North  and  South — ^to  apply  those  principles  to 
modem  conditions,  and  to  do  our  best  to  prevent  trade  with  the 
enemy  through  neutral  countries  ? 

"If  they  say  *Yes' — as  they  are  bound  in  fairness  to  say — 
then  I  would  say  to  them:  *Do  let  chambers  of  commerce,  or 
whatever  they  may  be,  do  their  best  to  make  it  easy  for  us  to 

"If,  on  the  other  hand,  they  answer  it  that  we  are  not  entitled 
to  interrupt  trade  with  the  enemy  through  neutral  countries,  I 
must  say  definitely  that  if  neutral  countries  were  to  take  that 
line,  it  is  a  departure  from  neutrality." 





THE  existing  restrictions  satisfied  Great  Britain  that  Ger- 
many, without  being  brought  to  her  knees,  was  feeling  the 
pinch  of  food  shortage.  To  that  extent — and  it  was  enough  in 
England's  view — the  blockade  was  effective,  the  contentions  of 
the  United  States  notwithstanding.  So  Great  Britain's  course 
indicated  that  she  would  not  relax  by  a  hair  the  barrier  she  had 
reared  round  the  German  coast;  but  she  sought  to  minimize  the 
obstacles  to  legitimate  neutral  trade,  so  far  as  blockade  condi- 
tions permitted,  and  was  disposed  to  pay  ample  compensation  foir 
losses  as  judicially  determined.    The  outlook  was  that  American 


scores  against  her  could  only  be  finally  settled  by  arbitral  tri- 
bunals after  the  war  was  over.  Satisfaction  by  arbitration  thus 
remained  the  only  American  hope  in  face  of  Great  Britain's  re- 
solve to  keep  Germany's  larder  depleted  and  her  export  trade  at 
a  standstill,  whether  neutrals  suffered  or  not.  Incidentally,  the 
United  States  was  reminded  that  in  the  Civil  War  it  served  no- 
tice on  foreign  governments  that  any  attempts  to  interfere  with 
the  blockade  of  the  Confederate  States  would  be  resented.  The 
situation  then,  and  the  situation  now,  with  the  parts  of  the  two 
countries  reversed,  were  considered  as  analogous. 

A  parliamentary  paper  showed  that  the  British  measures 
adopted  to  intercept  the  sea-borne  commerce  of  Germany  had 
succeeded  up  to  September,  1915,  in  stopping  92  per  cent  of  Ger- 
man exports  to  America.  Steps  had  also  been  taken  to  stop  ex- 
ports on  a  small  scale  from  Germany  and  Austria-Hungary  by 
parcel  post.    The  results  of  the  blockade  were  thus  summarized : 

"First,  German  exports  to  overseas  countries  have  almost  en- 
tirely stopped.  Exceptions  which  have  been  made  are  cases  in 
which  a  refusal  to  allow  the  export  goods  to  go  through  would 
hurt  the  neutral  country  concerned  without  inflicting  injury 
upon  Germany. 

"Second,  all  shipments  to  neutral  countries  adjacent  to  Ger- 
many have  been  carefully  scrutinized  with  a  view  to  the  detec- 
tion of  a  concealed  enemy  destination.  Wherever  there  has  been 
a  reasonable  ground  for  suspecting  the  destination,  the  goods 
have  been  placed  in  charge  of  a  prize  court.  Doubtful  consign- 
ments have  been  detained  pending  satisfactory  guarantees. 

"Third,  under  agreement  with  bodies  of  representative  mer- 
chants of  several  neutral  countries  adjacent  to  Germany,  strin- 
gent guarantees  have  been  exacted  from  importers.  So  far  as 
possible  all  trade  between  neutrals  and  Germany,  whether  aris- 
ing from  oversea  or  in  the  country  itself,  is  restricted. 

"Fourth,  by  agreements  with  shipping  lines  and  by  vigorous 
use  of  the  power  to  refuse  bunker  coal  in  large  proportions  the 
neutral  mercantile  marine  which  trades  with  Scandinavia  and 
Holland  has  been  induced  to  agree  to  conditions  designed  to  pre- 
vent the  goods  of  these  ships  from  reaching  Germany. 

46  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

"Fifth,  every  effort  is  being  made  to  introduce  a  system  of 
rationing  which  will  insure  that  the  neutrals  concerned  will  im- 
port only  such  quantities  of  articles  as  are  specified  as  normally 
imported  for  their  own  consumption." 

The  case  of  the  Chicago  meat  packers,  involving  food  consign- 
ments to  neutral  European  countries  since  the  war's  outbreak, 
came  before  a  British  prize  court  before  the  American  protest 
had  been  lodged.  Apparently  the  issues  it  raised  dictated  in 
some  degree  the  contentions  Secretary  Lansing  made.  The  Brit- 
ish authorities  had  seized  thirty-three  vessels  mainly  bearing 
meat  products  valued  at  $15,000,000,  twenty-nine  of  which  had 
been  held  without  being  relegated  for  disposal  to  the  prize  courts. 
The  remaining  four  cargoes,  held  for  ten  months,  and  worth 
$2,500,000  were  confiscated  by  a  British  prize  court  on  Septem- 
ber 15,  1915.  The  goods  were  declared  forfeited  to  the  Crown. 
One  of  the  factors  influencing  the  decision  was  the  sudden  ex- 
pansion in  shipments  of  food  products  to  the  Scandinavian  coun- 
tries immediately  after  the  war  began.  The  president  of  the 
prize  court.  Sir  Samuel  Evans,  asserted  that  incoming  vessels 
were  carrying  more  than  thirteen  times  the  amount  of  goods  to 
Copenhagen — ^the  destination  of  the  four  ships  involved — above 
the  volume  which  under  normal  conditions  arrived  at  that  port. 
He  cited  lard,  the  exportation  of  which  by  one  American  firm 
had  increased  twentyfold  to  Copenhagen  in  three  weeks  after 
the  war,  and  canned  meat,  of  which  Denmark  hitherto  had  only 
taken  small  quantities,  yet  the  seized  vessels  carried  hundreds  of 
thousands  of  tins. 

The  confiscation  formed  the  subject  of  a  complaint  made  by 
Chicago  beef  packers  to  the  State  Department  on  October  6, 
1915.  The  British  Court  condemned  the  cargoes  on  the  grounds : 
(1)  that  the  goods  being  in  excess  of  the  normal  consumption  of 
Denmark,  raised  a  presumption  that  they  were  destined  for,  i.  e., 
eventually  would  find  their  way  into  Germany.  (2)  That,  owing 
to  the  highly  organized  state  of  Germany,  in  a  military  sense, 
there  was  practically  no  distinction  between  the  civilian  and 
military  population  of  that  country  and  therefore  there  was  a 
presumption  that  the  goods,  or  a  very  large  proportion  of  them, 


would  necessarily  be  used  by  the  military  forces  of  the  German 
Empire.  (3)  That  the  burden  of  proving  that  such  goods  were 
not  destined  for,  i.  e.,  would  not  eventually  get  into  the  hands  of 
the  German  forces,  must  be  accepted  and  sustained  by  the  Ameri- 
can shippers. 

The  Chicago  beef  firms  besought  the  Government  to  register 
an  immediate  protest  against  the  decision  of  the  prize  court  and 
demand  from  the  British  Government  adequate  damages  for 
losses  arising  from  the  seizure,  detention  and  confiscation  of  the 
shipments  of  meat  products.  They  complained  that  the  judg- 
ment and  the  grounds  on  which  it  was  based  were  contrary  to 
the  established  principles  of  international  law,  and  subversive  of 
the  rights  of  neutrals.  The  judgment,  they  said,  was  unsup- 
ported by  fact,  and  was  based  on  inferences  and  presumptions. 
Direct  evidence  on  behalf  of  the  American  firms  interested,  to 
the  effect  that  none  of  the  seized  shipments  had  been  sold,  con- 
signed or  destined  to  the  armed  forces  or  to  the  governments  of 
any  enemy  of  Great  Britain,  was  uncontradicted  and  disregarded 
and  the  seizures  were  upheld  in  the  face  of  an  admission  that  no 
precedent  of  the  English  courts  existed  justifying  the  condemna- 
tion of  goods  on  their  way  to  a  neutral  port. 

An  uncompromising  defense  of  the  prize  court's  decision  came 
to  the  State  Department  from  the  British  Government  a  few 
days  later.  Most  of  the  seizures,  it  said,  were  not  made  under 
the  Order  in  Council  of  March  11,  1915,  the  validity  of  which 
and  of  similar  orders  was  disputed  by  the  United  States  Govern- 
ment. The  larger  part  of  the  cargoes  were  seized  long  before 
March,  1915.  The  ground  for  the  seizures  was  that  the  cargoes 
were  conditional  contraband  destined  from  the  first  by  the  Chi- 
cago beef  packers,  largely  for  the  use  of  the  armies,  navies  and 
Government  departments  of  Germany  and  Austria,  and  only  sent 
to  neutral  ports  with  the  object  of  concealing  their  true  destina- 

From  cablegrams  and  letters  in  the  possession  of  the  British 
Government  and  produced  in  court,  the  statement  charged,  "it 
was  clear  and  that  packers'  agents  in  these  neutral  countries, 
and  also  several  of  the  consigners,  who  purported  to  be  genuine 

D— War  St.  5 

48  THE   STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

neutral  buyers,  were  merely  persons  engaged  by  the  packers  on 
commission,  or  sent  by  the  packers  from  their  German  branches 
for  the  purpose  of  insuring  the  immediate  transit  of  these  con- 
signments to  Germany.  ...  No  attempt  was  made  by  any 
written  or  other  evidence  to  explain  away  the  damning  evidence 
of  the  telegrams  and  letters  disclosed  by  the  Crown.  The  infer- 
ence was  clear  and  irresistible  that  no  such  attempt  could  be 
made,  and  that  any  written  evidence  there  was  would  have  merely 
confirmed  the  strong  suspicion,  amounting  to  a  practical 
certainty,  that  the)  whole  of  the  operations  of  shipment  to 
Copenhagen  and  other  neutral  ports  were  a  mere  mask  to  cover 
a  determined  effort  to  transmit  vast  quantities  of  supplies 
through  to  the  German  and  Austrian  armies." 

A  portion  of  the  Western  press  had  denounced  the  confiscation 
as  a  "British  outrage"  and  as  "robbery  by  prize  court" ;  but  the 
more  moderate  Eastern  view  was  that,  while  American  business 
men  had  an  undoubted  right  to  feed  the  German  armies,  if  they 
could,  they  were  in  the  position  of  gamblers  who  had  lost  if  the 
British  navy  succeeded  in  intercepting  the  shipments. 

Exaggerated  values  placed  on  American-owned  goods  held  up 
for  months  at  Rotterdam  and  other  neutral  ports  by  British  be- 
came largely  discounted  on  October  1,  1915,  under  the  scrutiny 
of  the  Foreign  Trade  Advisers  of  the  State  Department.  These 
goods  were  German-made  for  consignment  to  the  United 
States,  and  would  only  be  released  if  the  British  Government 
were  satisfied  that  they  were  contracted  for  by  American  import- 
ers before  March  1,  1915,  the  date  on  which  the  British  blockade 
of  Germany  began.  Early  protests  against  their  detention  com- 
plained that  $50,000,000  was  involved ;  later  the  value  of  the  de- 
tained goods  was  raised  to  $150,000,000.  But  actual  claims  made 
by  American  importers  to  the  British  Embassy,  through  the 
Foreign  Trade  Advisers,  seeking  the  release  of  the  consign- 
ments, showed  that  the  amount  involved  was  not  much  more 
than  $11,000,000  and  would  not  exceed  $15,000,000  at  the  most 



WITH       THE       ENEMY  —  THE       APPAM  — THE 

THE  next  issue  the  United  States  raised  with  Great  Britain 
related  to  the  seizure  of  three  ships  of  American  registry — 
the  Hocking,  Genesee  and  the  Kankakee — in  November,  1915,  on 
the  ground  that  they  were  really  German-owned.  France  had 
also  confiscated  the  Solveig  of  the  same  ownership  for  a  like 
reason.  The  four  vessels  belonged  to  the  fleet  of  the  American 
Transatlantic  Steamship  Company,  the  formation  of  which 
under  unusual  circumstances  was  recorded  earlier  in  this  his- 
tory. Great  Britain  and  France  served  notice  that  this  company's 
vessels  were  blacklisted,  and  became  seizable  as  prizes  of  war  be- 
cause of  the  suspicion  that  German  interests  were  behind  the 
company,  and  that  its  American  officials  with  their  reputed  hold- 
ings of  stock  were  therefore  really  prizes  for  German  capital. 
The  Bureau  of  Navigation  had  at  first  refused  registry  to  these 
vessels,  but  its  ruling  was  reversed,  and  the  vessels  were  ad- 
mitted, the  State  Department  taking  the  view  that  it  could  not 
disregard  the  company's  declaration  of  incorporation  in  the 
United  States,  and  that  its  officers  were  American  citizens. 
Great  Britain  sought  to  requisition  the  vessels  for  navy  use 
without  prize-court  hearings,  but  on  the  United  States  protesting 
she  agreed  to  try  the  cases. 

Another  dispute  arose,  in  January,  1916,  over  the  operation  of 
the  Trading  with  the  Enemy  Act,  one  of  Great  Britain's  war 
measures,  the  provisions  of  which  were  enlarged  to  forbid  Brit- 
ish merchants  from  trading  with  any  person  or  firm,  resident  in 
a  neutral  country,  which  had  German  ownership  or  German 
trade  connections.  The  United  States  objected  to  the  pro- 
hibition as  constituting  a  further  unlawful  interference  with 
American  trade.    It  held  that  in  war  time  the  trade  of  such  a 

50  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

person  or  firm  domiciled  in  a  neutral  country  had  a  neutral 
status,  and  consequently  was  not  subject  to  interference;  hence 
goods  in  transit  of  such  a  trader  were  not  subject  to  confisca- 
tion by  a  belligerent  unless  contraband  and  consigned  to  an 
enemy  country. 

An  example  of  the  working  of  the  act  was  the  conviction  of 
three  members  of  a  British  glove  firm  for  trading  with  Germany 
through  their  New  York  branch.  They  had  obtained  some 
$30,000  worth  of  goods  from  Saxony  between  October,  1915,  and 
January,  1916,  the  consignments  evading  the  blockade  and 
reaching  New  York,  whence  they  were  reshipped  to  England. 
One  defendant  was  fined  $2,000;  the  two  others  received  terms 
of  imprisonment. 

While  the  act  would  injure  American  firms  affiliated  with 
German  interests,  it  aimed  to  press  hardest  upon  traders  in 
neutral  European  countries  contiguous  to  Germany  who  were 
trading  with  the  Germans  and  practically  serving  as  inter- 
mediaries to  save  the  Germans  from  the  effect  of  the  Allies* 

The  appearance  of  a  captured  British  steamer,  the  Appam,  at 
Newport  News,  Va.,  on  February  1,  1916,  in  charge  of  a  German 
naval  lieutenant,  Hans  Berg,  and  a  prize  crew,  involved  the 
United  States  in  a  new  maritime  tangle  with  the  belligerents. 
One  of  the  most  difficult  problems  which  Government  officials  had 
encountered  since  the  war  began,  presented  itself  for  solution. 
The  Appam,  as  elsewhere  described,  was  captured  by  a  German 
raider,  the  Moewe  (Sea  Gull) ,  off  Madeira,  and  was  crowded  with 
passengers,  crews,  and  German  prisoners  taken  from  a  number 
of  other  ships  the  Moewe  had  sunk.  Lieutenant  Berg,  for  lack  of 
a  safer  harbor,  since  German  ports  were  closed  to  him,  sought 
for  refuge  an  American  port,  and  claimed  for  his  prize  the 
privilege  of  asylum  under  the  protection  of  American  laws — 
until  he  chose  to  leave.  Count  von  BernstorfF,  the  German 
Ambassador,  immediately  notified  the  State  Department  that 
Germany  claimed  the  Appam  as  a  prize  under  the  Prussian- 
American  Treaty  of  1828,  and  would  contend  for  possession  of 
the  ship. 


This  treaty  was  construed  as  giving  German  prizes  brought  to 
American  ports  the  right  to  come  and  go.  The  British  Govern- 
ment contested  the  German  claim  by  demanding  the  release  of 
the  Appam  under  The  Hague  Convention  of  1907.  This  inter- 
national treaty  provided  that  a  merchantman  prize  could  only 
be  taken  to  a  neutral  port  under  certain  circumstances  of  dis- 
tress, injury,  or  lack  of  food,  and  if  she  did  not  depart  within  a 
stipulated  time  the  vessel  could  not  be  interned,  but  must  be 
restored  to  her  original  owners  with  all  her  cargo.  Were  the 
Appam  thus  forcibly  released  she  would  at  once  have  been  re- 
captured by  British  cruisers  waiting  off  the  Virginia  Capes.  The 
view  which  prevailed  officially  was  that  the  case  must  be  gov- 
erned by  the  Prussian  treaty,  a  liberal  construction  of  which  ap- 
peared to  permit  the  Appam  to  remain  indefinitely  at  Newport 
News.  This  was  what  happened,  but  not  through  any  acquies- 
cence of  the  State  Department  in  the  German  contention.  The 
Appam  owners,  the  British  and  African  Steam  Navigation  Com- 
pany, brought  suit  in  the  Federal  Courts  for  the  possession  of 
the  vessel,  on  the  ground  that,  having  been  brought  into  a  neu- 
tral port,  she  lost  her  character  as  a  German  prize,  and  must  be 
returned  to  her  owners.  Pending  a  determination  of  this  action, 
the  Appam  was  seized  by  Federal  marshals  under  instructions 
from  the  United  States  District  Court,  under  whose  jurisdiction 
the  vessel  remained. 

After  twelve  months  of  war  Great  Britain  became  seriously 
concerned  over  the  changed  conditions  of  her  trade  with  the 
United  States.  Before  the  war  the  United  States,  despite  its 
vast  resources  and  commerce,  bought  more  than  it  sold  abroad, 
and  was  thus  always  a  debtor  nation,  that  is,  permanently  owing 
money  to  Europe.  In  the  stress  of  war  Great  Britain's  exports 
to  the  United  States,  like  those  of  her  Allies,  declined  and  her  im- 
ports enormously  increased.  She  sold  but  little  of  her  products 
to  her  American  customers  and  bought  heavily  of  American 
foodstuffs,  cotton,  and  munitions.  The  result  was  that  Great 
Britain  owed  a  great  deal  more  to  the  United  States  than  the 
latter  owed  her.  The  unparalleled  situation  enabled  the  United 
States  to  pay  off  her  old  standing  ind^tedness  to  Europe  and 

52  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

became  a  creditor  nation.  American  firms  were  exporting  to  the 
allied  powers,  whose  almoner  Great  Britain  was,  commodities  of 
a  value  of  $100,000,000  a  month  in  excess  of  the  amount  they 
were  buying  abroad.  Hence  what  gold  was  sent  from  London, 
at  the  rate  of  $15,000,000  to  $40,000,000  monthly,  to  pay  for 
these  huge  purchases  was  wholly  insufficient  to  meet  the  accumu- 
lating balance  of  indebtedness  against  England. 

The  effect  of  this  reversal  of  Anglo-American  trade  balance 
was  a  decline  in  the  exchange  value  of  the  pound  sterling,  which 
was  normally  worth  $4,861/2  in  American  money,  to  the  unprece- 
dented level  of  $4.50.  This  decline  in  sterling  was  reflected  in 
different  degrees  in  the  other  European  money  markets,  and  the 
American  press  was  jubilant  over  the  power  of  the  dollar  to  buy 
more  foreign  money  than  ever  before.  Because  Europe  bought 
much  more  merchandise  than  she  sold  the  demand  in  London  for 
dollar  credit  at  New  York  was  far  greater  than  the  demand  in 
New  York  for  pound  credit  at  London.  Hence  the  premium  on 
dollars  and  the  discount  on  pounds.  It  was  not  a  premium  upon 
American  gold  over  European  gold,  but  a  premium  on  the  means 
of  settling  debts  in  dollars  without  the  use  of  gold.  Europe  pre- 
ferred to  pay  the  premium  rather  than  send  sufficient  gold, 
because,  for  one  reason,  shipping  gold  was  costly  and  more 
than  hazardous  in  war  time,  and,  for  another,  all  the  bellig- 
erents wanted  to  retain  their  gold  as  long  as  they  could  afford 
to  do  so. 

An  adjustment  of  the  exchange  situation  and  a  reestablish- 
ment  of  the  credit  relations  between  the  United  States  and  the 
allied  powers  on  a  more  equitable  footing  was  imperative.  The 
British  and  French  Governments  accordingly  sent  a  commission 
to  the  United  States,  composed  of  some  of  their  most  distin- 
guished financiers — government  officials  and  bankers — ^to  ar- 
range a  loan  in  the  form  of  a  credit  with  American  bankers  to 
restore  exchange  values  and  to  meet  the  cost  of  war  munitions 
and  other  supplies.  After  lengthy  negotiations  a  loan  of  $500,- 
000,000  was  agreed  upon,  at  5  per  cent  interest,  for  a  term  of 
five  years,  the  bonds  being  purchasable  at  98  in  denominations 
as  low  as  $100.    The  principal  and  interest  were  payable  in  New 


York  City — in  gold  dollars.  The  proceeds  of  the  loan  were  to  be 
employed  exclusively  in  the  United  States  to  cover  the  Allies' 
trade  obligations. 

The  loan  was  an  attractive  one  to  the  American  investor,  yield- 
ing as  it  did  a  fraction  over  5%  per  cent.  It  was  the  only  ex- 
ternal loan  of  Great  Britain  and  France,  for  the  repayment  of 
which  the  two  countries  pledged  severally  and  together  their 
credit,  faith,  and  resources.  No  such  an  investment  had  before 
been  offered  in  the  United  States. 

Strong  opposition  to  the  loan  came  from  German-American 
interests.  Dr.  Charles  Hexamer,  president  of  the  German- 
American  Alliance,  made  a  country-wide  appeal  urging  Ameri- 
can citizens  to  "thwart  the  loan*'  by  protesting  to  the  President 
and  the  Secretary  of  State.  Threats  were  likewise  made  by  Ger- 
man depositors  to  withdraw  their  deposits  from  banks  which 
participated  in  the  loan.  The  Government,  after  being  consulted, 
had  given  assurances  that  it  would  not  oppose  the  transaction 
as  a  possible  violation  of  neutrality — ^if  a  straight  credit,  not  as 
actual  loan,  was  negotiated.  Conformity  to  this  condition  made 
all  opposition  fruitless. 

Toward  the  close  of  1915  an  ambitious  peace  crusade  to  Europe 
was  initiated  by  Henry  Ford,  the  automobile  manufacturer. 
Accompanied  by  148  pacifists,  he  sailed  on  the  Scandinavian- 
American  liner,  Oscar  II,  early  in  December,  1915,  with  the 
avowed  purpose  of  ending  the  war  before  Christmas.  The  expe- 
dition was  viewed  dubiously  by  the  allied  powers,  who  discerned 
pro-German  propaganda  in  the  presence  of  Teutonic  sym- 
pathizers among  the  delegates.  They  also  suspected  a  design  to 
accelerate  a  peace  movement  while  the  gains  of  the  war  were 
all  on  Germany's  side,  thus  placing  the  onus  of  continuing  hos- 
tilities on  the  Allies  if  they  declined  to  recognize  the  Ford  peace 
party  as  mediators.  The  American  Government,  regardful  of 
the  obligations  of  neutrality,  notified  the  several  European  Gov- 
ernments concerned  that  the  United  States  had  no  connection 
with  the  expedition,  and  assumed  no  responsibility  for  any 
activities  the  persons  comprising  it  might  undertake  in  the  pro- 
motion of  peace. 


54  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 



THE  Ford  peace  mission,  lightly  regarded  though  it  was,  never- 
theless recorded  itself  on  the  annals  of  the  time  as  symp- 
tomatic of  a  state  of  mind  prevailing  among  a  proportion  of  the 
American  people.  It  might  almost  be  said  to  be  a  manifestation 
of  the  pacifist  sentiment  of  the  country.  This  spirit  found  a 
channel  for  expression  in  the  Ford  project,  bent  on  hurling  its 
protesting  voice  at  the  chancellories  of  Europe,  and  heedless  of 
the  disadvantage  its  efforts  labored  under  in  not  receiving  the 
countenance  of  the  Administration. 

"The  mission  of  America  in  the  world,"  said  President  Wilson 
in  one  of  his  speeches,  "is  essentially  a  mission  of  peace  and 
good  will  among  men.  She  has  become  the  home  and  asylum  of 
men  of  all  creeds  and  races.  America  has  been  made  up  out  of 
the  nations  of  the  world,  and  is  the  friend  of  the  nations  of  the 

But  Europe  was  deaf  alike  to  official  and  unofficial  overtures 
of  the  United  States  as  a  peacemaker.  The  Ford  expedition  was 
foredoomed  to  failure,  not  because  it  was  unofficial — official  pro- 
posals of  mediation  would  have  been  as  coldly  received — but 
more  because  the  pacifist  movement  it  represented  was  a  home 
growth  of  American  soil.  The  European  belligerents,  inured  and 
case-hardened  as  they  were  to  a  militarist  environment,  had  not 
been  sufficiently  chastened  by  their  self-slaughter. 

The  American  pacifists,  with  a  scattered  but  wide  sentiment 
behind  them,  consecrated  to  promoting  an  abiding  world  peace, 
and  espousing  the  internationalism  of  the  Socialists  to  that  end, 
and  President  Wilson,  standing  aloof  from  popular  manifesta- 
tions, a  solitary  watchman  on  the  tower,  had  perforce  to  wait 
until  the  dawning  of  the  great  day  when  Europe  had  accom- 
plished the  devastating  achievement  of  bleeding  herself  before 
she  could  extend  beckoning  hands  to  American  mediation. 


In  the  autumn  of  1915  the  President  inaugurated  his  campaign 
for  national  defense,  or  "preparedness,"  bred  by  the  dangers 
more  or  less  imminent  while  the  European  War  lasted.  "We 
never  know  what  to-morrow  might  bring  forth,"  he  warned.  In 
a  series  of  speeches  throughout  the  country  he  impressed  these 
view  s  on  the  people : 

The  United  States  had  no  aggressive  purposes,  but  must  be 
prepared  to  defend  itself  and  retain  its  full  liberty  and  self- 
development.  It  should  have  the  fullest  freedom  for  national 
growth.  It  should  be  prepared  to  enforce  its  right  to  unmo- 
lested action.  For  this  purpose  a  citizen  army  of  400,000  was 
needed  to  be  raised  in  three  years,  and  a  strengthened  navy  as 
the  first  and  chief  line  of  defense  for  safeguarding  at  all  costs 
the  good  faith  and  honor  of  the  nation.  The  nonpartisan  sup- 
port of  all  citizens  for  effecting  a  condition  of  preparedness, 
coupled  with  the  revival  and  renewal  of  national  allegiance,  he 
said,  was  also  imperative,  and  Americans  of  alien  sympathies  who 
were  not  responsive  to  such  a  call  on  their  patriotism  should  be 
called  to  account. 

This,  in  brief,  constituted  the  President's  plea  for  prepared- 
ness. But  such  a  policy  did  not  involve  nor  contemplate  the  con- 
quest of  other  lands  or  peoples,  nor  the  accomplishment  of  any 
purpose  by  force  beyond  the  defense  of  American  territory,  nor 
plans  for  an  aggressive  war,  military  training  that  would  inter- 
fere unduly  with  civil  pursuits,  nor  panicky  haste  in  defense 

The  President  took  a  midway  stand.  He  stood  between  the 
pacifists  and  the  extremists,  who  advocated  the  militarism  of 
Europe  as  the  inevitable  policy  for  the  United  States  to  adopt  to 
meet  the  dangers  they  fancied. 

The  country's  position,  as  the  President  saw  it,  was  stated  by 
him  in  a  speech  delivered  in  New  York  City: 

"Our  thought  is  now  inevitably  of  new  things  about  which 
formerly  we  gave  ourselves  little  concern.  We  are  thinking  now 
chiefly  of  our  relations  with  the  rest  of  the  world,  not  our  com- 
mercial relations,  about  those  we  have  thought  and  planned 
always,  but  about  our  political  relations,  our  duties  as  an  indi- 

56  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

vidual  and  independent  force  in  the  world  to  ourselves,  our 
neighbors  and  the  world  itself. 

"Within  a  year  we  have  witnessed  what  we  did  not  believe 
possible,  a  great  European  conflict  involving  many  of  the  great- 
est nations  of  the  world.  The  influences  of  a  great  war  are 
everywhere  in  the  air.  All  Europe  is  embattled.  Force  every- 
where speaks  out  with  a  loud  and  imperious  voice  in  a  Titanic 
struggle  of  governments,  and  from  one  end  of  our  own  dear 
country  to  the  other  men  are  asking  one  another  what  our  own 
force  is,  how  far  we  are  prepared  to  maintain  ourselves  against 
any  interference  with  our  national  action  or  development. 

'We  have  it  in  mind  to  be  prepared,  but  not  for  war,  but  only 
for  defense;  and  with  the  thought  constantly  in  our  minds  that 
the  principles  we  hold  most  dear  can  be  achieved  by  the  slow 
processes  of  history  only  in  the  kindly  and  wholesome  atmos- 
phere of  peace,  and  not  by  the  use  of  hostile  force. 

"No  thoughtful  man  feels  any  panic  haste  in  this  matter.  The 
country  is  not  threatened  from  any  quarter.  She  stands  in 
friendly  relations  with  all  the  world.  Her  resources  are  known 
and  her  self-respect  and  her  capacity  to  care  for  her  own  citizens 
and  her  own  rights.  There  is  no  fear  among  us.  Under  the  new- 
world  conditions  we  have  become  thoughtful  of  the  things  which 
all  reasonable  men  consider  necessary  for  security  and  self- 
defense  on  the  part  of  every  nation  confronted  with  the  great 
enterprise  of  human  liberty  and  independence.    That  is  all.*' 

Readiness  for  defense  was  also  the  keynote  of  the  President's 
address  to  Congress  at  its  opening  session  in  December,  1915; 
but  despite  its  earnest  plea  for  a  military  and  naval  program, 
and  a  lively  public  interest,  the  message  was  received  by  Congress 
in  a  spirit  approaching  apathy. 

The  President,  meantime,  pursued  his  course,  advocating  his 
preparedness  program,  and  in  no  issue  abating  his  condemnation 
of  citizens  with  aggressive  alien  sympathies. 

In  one  all-important  military  branch  there  was  small  need  for 
anxiety.  The  United  States  was  already  well  armed,  though 
not  well  manned.  The  munitions  industry,  called  into  being  by 
the  European  War,  had  grown  to  proportions  that  entitled  the 


country  to  be  ranked  with  first-class  powers  in  its  provision  and 
equipment  for  rapidly  producing  arms  and  ammunition  and  other 
war  essentials  on  an  extensive  scale.  Conditions  were  very  dif- 
ferent at  the  outset  of  the  war.  One  of  the  American  contentions 
in  defense  of  permitting  war-munition  exports — as  set  forth  in 
the  note  to  Austria-Hungary — was  that  if  the  United  States 
accepted  the  principle  that  neutral  nations  should  not  supply  war 
materials  to  belligerents,  it  would  itself,  should  it  be  involved 
in  war,  be  denied  the  benefit  of  seeking  such  supplies  from 
neutrals  to  amplify  its  own  meager  productions. 

But  the  contention  that  the  country  in  case  of  war  would  have 
to  rely  on  outside  help  could  no  longer  be  made  on  the  face  of 
the  sweeping  change  in  conditions  existing  after  eighteen  months 
of  the  war.  From  August,  1914,  to  January,  1916,  inclusive, 
American  factories  had  sent  to  the  European  belligerents  ship- 
ment after  shipment  of  sixteen  commodities  used  expressly  for 
war  purposes  of  the  unsurpassed  aggregate  value  of  $865,795,668. 
Roughly,  $200,000,000  represented  explosives,  cartridges,  and 
firearms;  $150,000,000  automobiles  and  accessories;  and  $250,- 
000,000  iron  and  steel  and  copper  manufacturing. 

This  production  revealed  that  the  United  States  could  meet 
any  war  emergency  out  of  its  own  resources  in  respect  of  sup- 
plies. Its  army  might  be  smaller  than  Switzerland's  and  its  navy 
inadequate,  but  it  would  have  no  cause  to  go  begging  for  the 
guns  and  shells  needful  to  wage  war. 

How  huge  factories  were  built,  equipped,  and  operated  in  three 
months,  how  machinery  for  the  manufacture  of  tinware,  type- 
writers, and  countless  other  everyday  articles  was  adapted  to 
shell  making ;  and  how  methods  for  producing  steel  and  reducing 
ores  were  revolutionized — ^these  developments  form  a  romantic 
chapter  in  American  industrial  history  without  a  parallel  in  that 
of  any  other  country. 

The  United  States,  in  helping  the  European  belligerents  who 
had  free  intercourse  with  it,  was  really  helping  itself.  It  was 
building  better  than  it  knew.  The  call  for  preparedness,  pri- 
marily arising  out  of  the  critical  relations  with  Germany,  turned 
the  country's  attention  to  a  contemplation  of  an  agreeable  new 

58  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

condition — ^that  the  European  War,  from  which  it  strove  to  be 
free,  had  given  it  an  enormous  impetus  for  the  creation  of  a 
colossal  industry,  which  in  itself  was  a  long  step  in  national  pre- 
paredness, and  that  much  of  this  preparedness  had  been  provided 
without  cost.  The  capital  sunk  in  the  huge  plants  which  supplied 
the  belligerents  represented,  at  $150,000,000,  an  outlay  amortized 
or  included  in  the  price  at  which  the  munitions  were  sold.  Thus, 
when  the  last  foreign  contract  was  fulfilled,  the  United  States 
would  have  at  its  own  service  one  of  the  world's  greatest  munition 
industries — and  Europe  will  have  paid  for  it. 




THE  months  which  brought  the  second  year  of  war  to  a  close 
were  marked  by  increased  activity  on  the  part  of  all  the  navies 
engaged.  Several  single-ship  actions  took  place,  and  the  Ger- 
mans pursued  their  submarine  tactics  with  steady,  if  not  bril- 
liant, results. 

It  was  during  this  period  that  they  sent  the  first  submersible 
merchant  ship  across  the  Atlantic  and  gave  further  proof  of 
having  developed  undersea  craft  to  an  amazing  state  of  effi- 
ciency. On  their  part  the  British  found  new  and  improved 
methods  of  stalking  submarines  until  it  was  a  hazardous 
business  for  such  craft  to  approach  the  British  coast.  A  con- 
siderable number  were  captured;  just  how  many  was  not  re- 

After  a  slackening  in  the  submarine  campaign  against  mer- 
chant ships,  due  partly  to  a  division  of  opinion  at  home  and 
largely  to  the  growing  protests  of  neutrals,  Germany  declared 
that  after  March  1,  1916,  every  ship  belonging  to  an  enemy  that 
carried  a  gun  would  be  considered  an  auxiliary,  and  torpedoed 
without  warning.  (For  an  account  of  the  negotiations  with 
the  United  States  in  relation  to  this  edict,  se«  United  States 
and  the  Belligerents,  Vol.  V,  Part  X.) 

A  spirited  fight  took  place  in  the  North  Sea  on  March  24, 
1916,  when  the  Greif,  sl  German  auxiliary  of  10,000  tons,  met 
the  Alcantara,  15,300  tons,  a  converted  British  merchantman. 
The  Greif  was  attempting  to  slip  through  the  blockade  under 

59  ^ 

60  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

Norwegian  colors  when  hailed.  She  parleyed  with  the  British 
vessel  until  the  latter  came  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  her. 
Then,  seeing  a  boat  put  out,  the  German  unmasked  her  guns  and 
opened  fire.  Broadside  after  broadside.  In  twelve  minutes  the 
Greif  was  on  fire  and  the  Alcantara  sinking  from  the  explosion 
of  a  torpedo.  The  Greif  might  have  got  away  had  not 
two  other  British  vessels  come  on  the  scene,  the  converted 
cruiser  Andes  ending  her  days  with  a  few  long-range  shots. 
One  hundred  and  fifteen  men  and  officers  out  of  300  on  the 
Greif  were  saved,  and  the  British  lost  five  officers  and  sixty- 
nine  men.  Both  vessels  went  to  the  bottom  after  as  gallant 
an  action  as  the  war  had  produced.  The  Greif  was  equipped 
for  a  raiding  cruise  and  also  was  believed  to  have  had  on  board 
a  big  cargo  of  mines.  When  the  fire  started  by  exploding  shells 
reaching  her  hold  she  blew  up  with  a  terrific  detonation  and 
literally  was  split  in  twain.  Officers  of  the  Alcantara  spoke 
warmly  of  their  enemy's  good  showing.  One  of  them  said  that 
they  approached  to  within  two  hundred  yards  of  the  Greif 
before  being  torpedoed  and  boarding  parties  actually  had  been 
ordered  to  get  ready.  They  were  preparing  to  lash  the  rigging 
of  the  two  vessels  together  in  the  time-honored  way  and  settle 
accounts  with  sheath  knives  when  the  torpedo  struck  and  the 
Alcantara  drifted  away  helpless. 

On  the  stroke  of  midnight,  February  29,  1916,  the  German 
edict  went  into  effect  placing  armed  merchantmen  in  a  classi- 
fication with  auxiliary  cruisers.  The  opening  of  March  also 
was  marked  by  the  deliverance  of  a  German  ultimatum  in 
Lisbon,  demanding  that  ships  seized  by  the  Portuguese  be  sur- 
rendered within  forty-eight  hours.  Thirty-eight  German  and 
Austrian  steamers  had  been  requisitioned,  striking  another  blow 
at  Teutonic  sea  power.  Most  of  these  belonged  to  Germany. 
Coincident  with  Portugal's  action  Italy  commandeered  thirty-four 
German  ships  lying  in  Italian  ports,  and  several  others  in  her 
territorial  waters.  All  Austrian  craft  had  been  seized  months 
before,  but  the  fiction  of  peace  with  Germany  still  was  punc- 
tiliously observed  by  both  nations.  Despite  this  action  Germany 
did  not  declare  war  upon  her  quondam  ally. 


Italy  brought  another  issue  sharply  to  the  fore  in  the  early 
days  of  March.  A  few  of  her  passenger  vessels  running  to 
America  and  other  countries  had  been  armed  previous  to  that 
time.  It  was  done  quietly,  and  commanders  found  many  reasons 
for  the  presence  of  guns  on  their  vessels.  Of  a  sudden  all 
Italian  passenger  craft  sailed  with  3-inch  pieces  fore  and  aft. 

Berlin  announced  that  on  the  first  day  of  March,  1916,  Ger- 
man submarines  had  sunk  two  French  auxiliaries  off  Havre, 
and  a  British  patrol  vessel  near  the  mouth  of  the  Thames. 
Paris  promptly  denied  the  statement,  and  London  was  noncom- 
mittal. No  other  particulars  were  made  public.  Russian  troops 
landed  on  the  Black  Sea  coast  on  March  6,  1916,  under  the  gunsi 
of  a  Russian  naval  division  and  took  Atina,  seventy-five  miles  east 
of  Trebizond,  the  objective  of  the  Grand  Duke  Constantine's 
army.  Thirty  Turkish  vessels,  mostly  sailing  ships  loaded 
with  war  supplies,  were  sunk  along  the  shore  within  a  few 

Winston  Spencer  Churchill,  former  First  Lord  of  the  Admir- 
alty, on  March  7, 1916,  delivered  a  warning  in  the  House  of  Com- 
mons against  what  he  believed  to  be  inadequate  naval  prepara- 
tions. He  challenged  statements  made  by  Arthur  J.  Balfour, 
his  successor,  on  the  navy's  readiness.  Mr.  Balfour  had  just 
presented  naval  estimates  to  the  House,  and  among  other  things 
set  forth  that  Britain  had  increased  her  navy  by  1,000,000  tons 
and  more  than  doubled  its  personnel  since  hostilities  began. 
This  encouraging  assurance  impressed  the  world,  but  Colonel 
Churchill  demanded  that  Sir  John  Fisher,  who  had  resigned 
as  First  Sea  Lord,  be  recalled  to  his  post. 

An  announcement  from  Tokyo,  March  8,  1916,  served  to  show 
the  new  friendship  between  Russia  and  Japan.  Three  war- 
ships captured  by  the  Japanese  in  the  conflict  with  Russia  were 
purchased  by  the  czar  and  added  to  Russian  naval  forces.  They 
were  the  Soya,  the  Tango  and  the  Sagami,  formerly  the  Variag, 
Poltava  and  Peresviet,  all  small  but  useful  ships.  Following 
the  capture  of  Atina,  the  Russians  took  Rizeh  on  March  9,  1916,» 
a  city  thirty-five  miles  east  x)f  Trebizond,  an  advance  of  forty 
miles  in  three  days  toward  that  important  port.    The  fleet  co- 

62  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

operated,  and  it  was  announced  that  the  defenses  of  Trebizond 
itself  were  under  fire  and  fast  crumbling  away. 

On  March  16,  1916,  the  Holland-Lloyd  passenger  steamer 
Tuhantid,  a  vessel  of  15,000  tons,  was  sunk  near  the  Dutch 
coast  by  a  mine  or  torpedo.  She  was  commonly  believed  to 
have  been  the  victim  of  a  submarine.  Her  eighty-odd  passen- 
gers and  300  men  reached  shore.  Several  Americans  were 
aboard.  Statements  by  some  of  the  crew  that  four  persons  lost 
their  lives  could  not  be  verified,  but  several  of  the  Tuhantia's 
officers  made  affidavit  that  the  vessel  was  torpedoed. 

The  incident  aroused  public  feeling  in  Holland  to  fever  pitch, 
and  there  were  threats  of  war.  Germany  hastened  to  deny 
that  a  submarine  attacked  the  ship,  and  made  overtures  to  the 
Dutch  Government,  offering  reparation  if  it  could  be  estab- 
lished that  a  German  torpedo  sank  the  steamer.  This  was 
never  proved,  and  nothing  came  of  the  matter.  But  it  cost 
Germany  many  friends  in  Holland  and  intensified  the  fear  and 
hatred  entertained  toward  their  neighbor  by  the  majority  of 
Hollanders.  It  served  to  keep  Dutch  troops,  already  mobilized, 
under  arms,  and  gave  Berlin  a  bad  quarter  hour. 

Fast  on  the  heels  of  this  incident  came  the  sinking  of  another 
Dutch  steamer,  the  Palembang,  which  was  torpedoed  and  went 
down  March  18,  1916,  near  Galloper  Lights  in  a  Thames  estu- 
ary. Three  torpedoes  struck  the  vessel  and  nine  of  her  crew 
were  injured.  This  second  attack  in  three  days  upon  Dutch 
vessels  wrought  indignation  in  Holland  to  the  breaking  point 
The  Hague  sent  a  strong  protest  to  Berlin,  which  again  replied 
in  a  conciliatory  tone,  hinting  that  an  English  submarine  had 
fired  on  the  Palembang  in  the  hope  of  embroiling  Holland  with 
Germany.  This  suggestion  was  instantly  rejected  by  the  Dutch 
press  and  people.  Negotiations  failed  to  produce  any  definite 
result,  save  to  prolong  the  matter  until  tension  had  been  some- 
what relieved.  The  French  destroyer  Renaudin  fell  prey  to  a 
submarine  in  the  Adriatic  on  the  same  day.  Three  officers, 
including  the  commander,  and  forty-four  of  her  crew,  were 
drowned.  Vienna  also  announced  the  loss  in  the  Adriatic  of  the 
hospital  ship  Elektra  on  March  18,  1916.    She  was  said  to  have 


been  torpedoed,   although  properly  marked.     One  sailor  was 
killed  and  two  nuns  serving  as  nurses  received  wounds. 

German  submarine  activity  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Thames  was 
emphasized  March  22,  1916,  when  the  Galloper  Lightship,  well 
known  to  all  seafaring  men,  went  to  the  bottom  after  being 
torpedoed.  The  vessel  was  stationed  off  dangerous  shoals  near 
the  mouth  of  the  river.  The  Germans  suffered  the  loss  of  a 
7,000-ton  steamship  on  this  day,  when  the  Esparanza  was  sunk 
by  a  Russian  warship  in  the  Black  Sea.  She  had  taken  refuge 
in  the  Bulgarian  port  of  Varna  at  the  outbreak  of  the  conflict 
and  attempted  to  reach  Constantinople  with  a  cargo  of  food- 
stuffs, but  a  Russian  patrol  vessel  ended  her  career. 

Another  tragedy  of  the  sea  came  at  a  moment  when  strained 
relations  between  Germany  and  the  United  States  made  almost 
anything  probable.  The  Sussex,  a  Channel  steamer  plying  be- 
tween Folkestone  and  Dieppe,  was  hit  by  a  torpedo  March  24, 
1916,  when  about  three  hours'  sail  from  the  former  port,  and 
some  fifty  persons  lost  their  lives.  A  moment  after  the  missile 
struck  there  was  an  explosion  in  the  engine  room  that  spread 
panic  among  her  386  passengers,  many  of  whom  were  Belgian 
women  and  children  refugees  bound  for  England.  One  or  two 
boats  overturned,  and  a  number  of  frightened  women  jumped 
into  the  water  without  obtaining  life  preservers.  Others  strapped 
on  the  cork  jackets  and  were  rescued  hours  later.  Some  of 
the  victims  were  killed  outright  by  the  impact  of  the  torpedo 
and  the  second  explosion.  Fortunately  the  vessel  remained  afloat 
and  her  wireless  brought  rescue  craft  from  both  sides  of  the 

The  rescuers  picked  up  practically  all  of  those  in  the  water 
who  had  donned  life  belts  and  took  aboard  those  in  the  boats. 
Many  of  the  passengers,  including  several  Americans,  saw  the 
torpedo's  wake.  It  was  stated  that  the  undersea  craft  ap- 
proached the  Sussex  under  the  lee  of  a  captured  Belgian  vessel, 
and  when  within  easy  target  distance  fired  the  torpedo.  Ac- 
cording to  this  version,  the  Belgian  ship  then  was  compelled 
to  put  about  and  leave  the  stricken  steamer's  passengers  and 
crew  to  what  seemed  certain  destruction.     The  presence  of 

E—War  St.  & 

64  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

this  third  craft  never  was  definitely  estabHshed,  although 
vouched  for  by  a  number  of  those  on  the  Sussex, 

Of  thirty  American  passengers  five  or  six  sustained  painful 
injuries.  The  victims  included  several  prominent  persons,  one 
of  whom  was  Enrique  Granados,  the  Spanish  composer,  and 
his  wife.  They  had  just  returned  from  the  United  States  where 
they  had  witnessed  the  presentation  of  his  opera  "Goyescas." 

The  Sussex,  which  flew  the  French  flag,  although  owned  by 
a  British  company,  had  no  guns  aboard  and  was  in  no  wise 
an  auxiliary  craft.  She  reached  Boulogne  in  tow,  and  the 
American  consul  there  reported  that  undoubtedly  she  had  been 
torpedoed.  (For  an  account  of  the  negotiations  between  the 
United  States  and  Germany  in  relation  to  this  affair  see  United 
States  and  the  Belligerents,  Vol.  V,  Part  X.)  Ambassador  Ger- 
ard, in  Berlin,  was  instructed  to  ask  the  German  Government  for 
any  particulars  of  the  incident  in  its  possession,  so  as  to  aid  the 
United  States  in  reaching  a  conclusion.  Berlin,  after  much  eva- 
sion, admitted  that  a  submarine  had  sunk  a  vessel  near  the 
spot  where  the  Sussex  was  lost,  but  gave  it  an  entirely  different 

The  British  converted  liner  Minneapolis,  used  as  a  trans- 
port, was  torpedoed  in  the  Mediterranean  with  a  loss  of  eleven 
lives,  although  this  vessel  also  stayed  afloat,  according  to  a 
statement  issued  in  London,  March  26,  1916.  She  was  a  ship 
of  15,543  tons  and  formerly  ran  in  the  New  York-Liverpool 
service.  In  a  brush  between  German  and  British  forces  near 
the  German  coast,  March  25,  1916,  a  British  light  cruiser,  the 
Cleopatra,  rammed  and  sunk  a  German  destroyer.  The  British 
destroyer  Medusa  also  was  sunk,  but  her  crew  escaped  to  other 
vessels.  In  addition  the  Germans  lost  two  of  their  armed  fishing 

Fourteen  nuns  and  101  other  persons  were  killed  or  drowned 
March  30,  1916,  when  the  Russian  hospital  ship  Portugal  was 
sunk  in  the  Black  Sea  between  Batum  and  Rizeh  on  the  Ana- 
tolian coast  by  a  torpedo.  The  Portugal  had  stopped  and  was 
preparing  to  take  aboard  wounded  men  on  shore.  Several  of 
those  on  the  vessel  saw  the  periscope  of  a  submarine  appear 


above  the  waves,  but  had  no  fear  of  an  attack,  as  the  Portugal 
was  plainly  marked  with  the  Red  Cross  insignia  and  was  flying 
a  Red  Cross  flag  from  her  peak. 

The  submarine  circled  about  the  ships  twice  and  then,  to  the 
horror  of  those  who  were  watching,  fired  a  torpedo.  The  mis- 
sile went  astray,  but  another  followed  and  found  its  mark.  Al- 
though the  ship  was  at  anchor,  with  the  shore  near  by,  it  was 
impossible  to  get  all  of  her  crew  and  wounded  to  safety. 

This  attack  greatly  incensed  Russia.  She  sent  protests  to  all 
of  the  neutral  powers,  calling  attention  to  the  deed  perpetrated 
against  her.  The  flame  of  national  anger  was  fanned  higher 
when  Constantinople  issued  a  statement  saying  that  a  Turkish 
submarine  had  sunk  the  Portugal,  claiming  that  she  flew  the 
Russian  merchant  flag  without  any  of  the  usual  Red  Cross  mark- 
ings upon  her  hull.  It  was  said  that  the  explosion  which  shat- 
tered the  vessel  was  caused  by  the  presence  of  ammunition. 

On  the  morning  of  March  30,  1916,  the  steamship  Matoppo, 
a  British  freighter,  put  into  Lewes,  Delaware,  with  her  master 
and  his  crew  of  fifty  men  held  prisoners  by  a  single  individual. 
Ernest  Schiller,  as  he  called  himself,  had  gone  aboard  the  Ma- 
toppo in  New  York,  March  29,  1916,  and  hid  himself  away  until 
the  vessel  passed  Sandy  Hook,  bound  for  Vladiovstok.  Then 
he  came  out  and  with  the  aid  of  two  weapons  which  the  captain 
described  as  horse  pistols,  proceeded  to  cow  the  master  and  crew. 
Schiller  announced  that  the  Matoppo  was  a  German  prize  of 
war  and  that  he  would  shoot  the  first  man  who  moved  a  hostile 
hand.  The  crew  believed  him.  They  also  had  an  uneasy  fear 
that  certain  bombs  which  Schiller  mentioned  would  be  set  off 
unless  they  obeyed. 

With  Schiller  in  command  the  Matoppo  headed  down  the  coast, 
her  captor  keeping  vigil.  Off  Delaware  he  ordered  the  captain 
to  make  port.  The  latter  obeyed,  but  also  signaled  to  shore  that 
a  pirate  was  aboard.  Port  authorities  then  sent  a  boat  along- 
side, and  Schiller  was  arrested.  He  admitted  under  examination 
that  he  and  three  other  men  had  plotted  to  blow  up  the  Cunard 
liner  Pannonia,  They  bought  the  dynamite  and  made  the 
bombs,  but  his  companions'  courage  failed,  and  the  plan  was 

66  THE   STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

abandoned.  Then  it  was  proposed  to  stow  away  on  some  out- 
ward bound  ship,  seize  her  at  sea  and  make  for  Germany.  With 
this  purpose  in  mind  Schiller  got  aboard  the  Matoppo,  but  the 
other  conspirators  deserted  him.  Not  to  be  foiled,  he  captured 
the  vessel  single-handed.  It  developed  that  his  name  was 
Clarence  Reginald  Hodson,  his  father  having  been  an  English- 
man, but  he  was  bom  of  a  German  mother,  had  been  raised  in 
Germany,  and  was  fully  in  sympathy  with  the  German  cause. 
After  a  trial  he  was  sent  to  prison  for  life,  the  only  man  serving 
such  a  sentence  in  the  United  States  on  a  charge  of  piracy. 



THE  beginning  of  April  found  growing  discontent  among 
neutrals  against  the  British  blockade  of  Germany  and  the 
virtual  embargo  on  many  other  nations.  Sweden  especially 
demonstrated  resentment.  The  United  States  made  new  repre- 
sentations about  the  seizure  and  search  of  first-class  mail.  All 
of  this  did  not  deter  the  Allies  from  pursuing  their  policy  of 
attrition  toward  Germany. 

The  opening  day  of  the  month  saw  the  arrival  in  New  York 
harbor  of  the  first  armed  French  steamer  to  reach  that  port.  The 
Vulcain,  a  freighter,  tied  up  at  her  dock  with  a  47-milli- 
tneter  quick-firing  gun  mounted  at  the  stem.  Inquiries  followed, 
with  the  usual  result,  and  the  advancing  days  found  other  French 
vessels  arriving,  some  of  the  passenger  liners  carrying  three  and 
four  75-millimeter  pieces,  the  famous  75's. 

On  April  5,  1916,  Paris  announced  that  French  and  British 
warships  had  sunk  a  submarine  at  an  unnamed  point  and  cap- 
tured the  crew.  In  this  connection  it  should  be  said  that  many 
reports  were  current  of  frequent  captures  made  by  the  Allies 
of  enemy  submersibles.  The  British  seldom  admitted  such  cap- 
tures, seeking  to  befog  Berlin  as  to  the  fate  of  her  submarines. 


But  there  was  little  doubt  that  numbers  of  them  had  been  taken 
by  both  French  and  British. 

An  Austrian  transport  was  torpedoed  by  a  French  submarine 
and  lost  in  the  Adriatic,  April  8,  1916.  Neither  the  loss  of  life 
nor  the  name  of  the  vessel  was  made  public  by  Vienna. 

Two  days  later  a  Russian  destroyer,  the  Strogi,  rammed  and 
sunk  an  enemy  submersible  near  the  spot  where  the  hospital  ship 
Portugal  was  torpedoed. 

Reports  from  Paris,  April  18,  1916,  stated  th^t  the  French  had 
captured  the  submarine  that  torpedoed  the  Sussex.  It  was  said 
that  her  crew  and  commander  were  prisoners,  and  that  documen- 
tary evidence  had  been  obtained  on  the  vessel  to  prove  that  she 
sank  the  Sussex,  The  report  could  not  be  verified,  but  Paris 
semiofficially  intimated  that  she  had  indisputable  proof  that  the 
Sussex  was  a  submarine's  victim.  The  two  incidents  coincided 
so  well  that  the  capture  of  the  vessel  was  believed  to  have  been 

Trebizond  fell  April  18,  1916,  the  Russian  fleet  cooperating 
in  a  grand  assault.  This  gave  Russia  possession  of  a  fine  port 
on  the  Turkish  side  of  the  Black  Sea  and  marked  important 
progress  for  her  armies  in  Asia. 

Zeebrugge,  Belgium,  was  shelled  by  the  British  fleet,  April  25, 
1916,  the  city  sustaining  one  of  the  longest  and  heaviest  bom- 
bardments which  it  had  suffered  since  its  capture  by  the  Ger- 
mans. As  a  convenient  base  for  submarines  it  was  a  particularly 
troublesome  thorn  to  the  Allies,  and  the  bombardment  was 
directed  mainly  at  buildings  suspected  of  being  submarine  work- 
shops, and  the  harbor  defenses.  Several  vessels  were  sunk  and 
much  damage  wrought,  the  German  batteries  at  Heyst,  Blanken- 
berghe,  and  Knocke  coming  in  for  the  heavy  fire. 

Naval  vessels  on  guard  engaged  the  Germans  and  succeeded  in 
driving  them  off,  although  outnumbered.  Two  British  cruisers 
were  hit,  without  serious  injury.  The  attack  was  part  of  a  con- 
certed plan  which  contemplated  a  smashing  blow  at  the  British 
line,  while  the  Irish  trouble  engaged  attention. 

One  British  auxiliary  was  lost  and  her  crew  captured  and  a 
destroyer  damaged  in  a  scouting  engagement  off  the  Flanders 

68  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

coast  on  April  25,  1916.  The  identity  of  the  vessel  was  never 
learned.  The  E'22y  a  British  submarine,  went  down  April  25, 
1916,  in  another  fight.  The  Germans  scored  again  when  they 
sank  an  unidentified  guard  vessel  off  the  Dogger  Bank  after  dusk 
April  26,  1916. 

Reports  from  Holland,  April  28, 1916,  told  of  the  sinking  by  an 
armed  British  trawler  of  a  submarine  near  the  north  coast  of 
Scotland.  The  enemy  vessel  had  halted  two  Dutch  steamers 
when  the  trawler  appeared.  The  submersible  was  said  to  be  of 
the  newest  and  largest  type  and  sixty  men  were  believed  to  have 
been  lost  with  her.  The  British  announced  the  sinking  of  a  sub- 
marine on  the  same  day  off  the  east  coast,  one  officer  and  seven- 
teen men  being  taken  prisoners.  It  was  believed  that  the  two 
reports  concerned  the  same  craft. 

London  also  admitted  the  loss  on  April  28,  1916,  of  the  battle- 
ship Ritssell,  which  struck  a  mine  or  was  torpedoed  in  the  Medi- 
terranean. Admiral  Freemantle,  whose  flag  she  bore,  was  among 
the  600  men  saved.  The  loss  of  life  included  one  hundred  and 
twenty-four  officers  and  men. 

The  Ricssell  was  a  vessel  of  14,000  tons,  carried  four  12- 
inch  guns,  twelve  6-inch  pieces,  and  a  strong  secondary  battery. 
She  belonged  to  the  predreadnought  period,  but  was  a  formidable 
fighting  ship. 

The  quality  of  Russia's  determination  to  win  victory,  despite 
serious  reverses  in  the  field,  was  well  indicated  by  an  announce- 
ment made  in  Petrograd,  May  1,  1916.  A  railroad  from  the 
capital  to  Soroka,  on  the  White  Sea,  begun  since  the  war  started, 
had  just  reached  completion.  It  covered  a  distance  of  386  miles 
and  made  accessible  a  port  that  hitherto  had  been  practically 
useless,  where  it  was  proposed  to  divert  commercial  shipments. 
This  left  free  for  war  purposes  the  port  of  Archangel,  sole 
window  of  Russia  looking  upon  the  west  until  Soroka  was  linked 
with  Petrograd.  German  activity  had  halted  all  shipping  to 
Russian  Baltic  ports.  At  the  moment  announcement  was  made 
of  this  event  more  than  100  ships  were  waiting  for  the  ice  to 
break  up,  permitting  passage  to  Archangel  and  Soroka,  which 
are  held  in  the  grip  of  the  north  for  many  months  of  each  year. 


A  majority  of  these  vessels  carried  guns,  ammunition,  harness, 
auto  trucks  and  other  things  sorely  needed  by  the  Czar's  armies. 
Additional  supplies  were  pouring  in  through  Vladivostok  for 
the  long  haul  across  Siberia. 

May  1,  1916,  witnessed  the  destruction  of  a  British  mine 
sweeper,  the  Nasturtium,  in  the  Mediterranean  along  with  the 
armed  yacht  Aegusa,  both  said  to  have  been  sunk  by  floating 

The  Aegusa  formerly  was  the  Erin,  the  private  yacht  of  Sir 
Thomas  Lipton,  and  valued  at  $375,000  when  the  Government 
took  it  over.  The  craft  was  well  known  to  Americans,  as  Sir 
Thomas,  several  times  challenger  for  the  international  cup  held 
in  America,  had  made  more  than  one  trip  to  our  shores  on  the 

The  French  submarine  Bernouille  was  responsible  for  the  sink- 
ing of  an  enemy  torpedo  boat  in  the  Adriatic,  May  4,  1916. 

Washington  received  a  note  from  Germany,  May  6, 1916,  offer- 
ing to  modify  her  submarine  orders  if  the  United  States  would 
protest  to  Great  Britain  against  the  stringent  blockade  laid  upon 
Germany.  This  offer  met  with  prompt  rejection.  President 
Wilson  standing  firm  and  insisting  upon  disavowal  for  the  sink- 
ing of  the  Sussex  and  search  of  merchantmen  before  attack. 
(See  United  States  and  the  Belligerents,  Vol.  V,  Part  X.) 

Laden  with  munitions,  the  White  Star  liner  Cymric  was  tor- 
pedoed and  sunk  May  9,  1916,  near  the  British  coast  with  a  loss 
of  five  killed.  The  vessel  remained  afloat  for  several  hours,  and 
the  remainder  of  her  110  officers  and  men  were  saved.  She  had 
no  passengers  aboard. 

An  Austrian  transport,  name  unknown,  went  down  in  the 
Adriatic,  May  10,  1916,  after  a  French  submarine  torpedoed  her. 
She  was  believed  to  have  had  a  heavy  cargo  of  munitions,  but 
few  soldiers,  and  probably  was  bound  for  Durazzo,  Albania,  from 
Pola,  the  naval  base. 

The  M-30,  a  small  British  monitor,  was  struck  by  shells  from  a 
Turkish  battery  upon  the  island  of  Kesten  in  the  Mediterranean 
and  sunk  on  the  night  of  May  13,  1916.  Casualities  consisted  of 
two  killed  and  two  wounded. 

70  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  sunny  weather  of  May  brought  a  resumption  of  attacks 
by  British  and  Russian  submarines  in  the  Baltic.  May  18, 
1916,  London  announced  that  four  German  steamers,  the  Kolga, 
Biancha,  Hera  and  Trav,  had  been  halted  and  destroyed  in  that 
sea  within  a  few  days.  Other  similar  reports  followed  and  Ger- 
man shipping  was  almost  driven  from  the  Baltic,  thereby  cutting 
off  an  important  source  of  supply  with  Sweden  and  Norway, 
the  only  neutrals  still  trading  with  Germany  to  any  considerable 
extent.  For  her  part,  Germany  alleged  that  several  merchant 
ships  torpedoed  by  the  British  were  sunk  without  warning  and 
some  of  the  crews  killed.  London  denied  the  charge  and  there 
was  none  to  prove  or  disprove  it. 

An  Italian  destroyer  performed  a  daring  feat  on  the  night  of 
May  30,  1916,  running  into  the  harbor  at  Trieste  and  sinking  a 
large  transport  believed  to  have  many  soldiers  aboard.  Scarcely 
a  soul  was  saved,  current  report  stated.  The  raider  crept  out  to 
sea  again  and  made  good  her  escape. 



A  GREAT  naval  battle  was  fought  in  the  North  Sea  off  Jutland, 
where,  in  the  afternoon  and  evening  hours  of  May  31,  1916, 
the  fleets  of  England  and  Germany  clashed  in  what  might  have 
been — but  was  not — ^the  most  important  naval  fight  in  history. 
Why  it  missed  this  ultimate  distinction  is  not  altogether  clear. 
Nor  is  it  altogether  clear  to  which  side  victory  leaned.  To 
pronounce  a  satisfactory  judgment  on  this  point  we  need  far  more 
information  than  we  have  at  present,  not  only  as  to  the  respec- 
tive losses  of  the  contending  fleets,  but  as  to  the  objects  for 
which  the  battle  was  fought  and  the  degree  of  success  attained 
in  the  accomplishment  of  these  objects.  The  official  German 
report  states  that  the  German  fleet  left  port  "on  a  mission  to  the 
northward."    No  certain  evidence  is  at  hand  as  to  the  nature  of 


this  mission ;  but  whatever  it  was,  it  can  hardly  have  been  accom- 
plished, as  the  most  northerly  point  reached  was  less  than  180 
miles  from  the  point  of  departure,  and  the  whole  fleet,  or  what 
was  left  of  it,  was  back  in  port  within  thirty-six  hours  of  the 
time  of  leaving. 

It  has  been  surmised,  and  there  is  some  reason  to  believe,  that 
the  German  plan  was  to  force  a  passage  for  their  battle  cruisers 
through  the  channel  between  Scotland  and  Norway  into  the  open 
sea,  where,  with  their  high-speed  and  long-range  guns,  they 
might,  at  least  for  a  time,  have  paralyzed  transatlantic  com- 
merce with  very  serious  results  for  England's  industries,  and 
still  more  serious  results  for  her  supplies  of  food. 

Another  and  a  somewhat  more  plausible  theory  is  that  the 
plan  contemplated  the  escape  to  the  open  sea,  not  of  the  battle 
cruisers  themselves,  but  of  a  number  of  very  fast  armed  mer- 
chant cruisers  of  the  Moewe  type,  which  were  to  repeat  the 
Moewe's  exploit  on  a  large  scale,  serving  the  same  purpose  that 
the  submarines  served  during  the  period  of  their  greatest 
activity.  Color  is  lent  to  this  theory  by  what  is  known  of  the 
controversy  now  going  on  in  Germany  between  those  who  advo- 
cate a  renewal  of  the  submarine  warfare  against  commerce,  and 
those  who  are  opposed  to  this.  It  is  evident  that  if  fast  cruisers 
could  be  maintained  on  England's  trade  routes  they  might  do  all 
that  the  submarine  could  do  and  more,  and  this  without  raising 
any  question  as  to  their  rights  under  international  law. 

Whatever  the  plan  was,  we  must  assume  that  it  was  thwarted 
by  the  interposition  of  the  British  fleet;  and  from  this  point  of 
view  the  battle  takes  on  the  aspect  of  a  British  victory.  The 
German  fleet  is  back  behind  the  fortifications  and  the  mine  fields 
of  the  Helgoland  Bight,  in  the  waters  which  have  been  its 
refuge  for  nearly  two  years  of  comparative  inactivity.  And  the 
British  fleet  still  holds  the  command  of  the  sea  with  a  force 
which  makes  its  command  complete,  and,  in  all  human  proba- 
bility, permanent. 

From  the  narrower  point  of  view  of  results  on  the  actual  field 
of  battle,  it  appears  from  the  evidence  at  present  available  that, 
although  the  Germans  were  first  to  withdraw,  they  had  the 

72  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

advantage  in  that  they  lost  fewer  ships  than  their  opponents  and 
less  important  ones.  This  is  not  admitted  by  the  British,  and 
it  may  not  be  true,  but  we  have  the  positive  assurance  of  the 
German  Government  that  it  is  so,  and  no  real  evidence  to  the 
contrary.  It  must  therefore  be  accepted  for  the  present,  always 
with  remembrance  of  the  fact  that  the  first  reports  given  out  by 
the  German  authorities  are  admitted  to  have  been  understated 
"for  military  reasons."  Only  time  can  tell  us  whether  the  world 
has  the  whole  truth  even  now.  But  taking  the  situation  as  it 
appears  from  the  official  statements  on  both  sides  the  losses  are 
as  follows : 

British  :  German  : 

Battleships  Battleships 

None  One 

Battle  Cruisers  Battle  Cruisers 

Three  One 

Armored  Cruisers  Armored  Cruisers 

Three  None 

Light  Cruisers  Light  Cruisers 

None  Four 

Destroyers  Destroyers 

Eight  Five 

It  is  certain  that  the  British  losses  as  here  given  are  sub- 
Btantially  correct.  It  is  possible,  as  has  been  said,  that  the  Ger- 
man losses  are  much  understated.  British  officers  and  seamen 
claim  to  have  actually  seen  several  large  German  ships  blow  up, 
and  they  are  probably  quite  honest  in  these  claims.  They  may 
be  right.  But  it  is  only  necessary  to  picture  to  one's  self  the 
conditions  by  which  all  observers  were  surrounded  while  the 
appalling  inferno  of  the  battle  was  at  its  height  to  understand 
how  hopelessly  unreliable  must  be  the  testimony  of  participants 
as  to  what  they  saw  and  heard.  Four  or  five  15-inch  shells  strik- 
ing simultaneously  against  the  armor  of  a  battleship  and  ex- 
ploding with  a  great  burst  of  flame  and  smoke  might  well  suggest 
to  an  eager  and  excited  observer  the  total  destruction  of  the 
ship.    And  an  error  here  would  be  all  the  easier  when  to  the 


confusion  of  battle  was  added  the  obscurity  of  darkness  and 
of  fog. 

No  doubt  the  time  will  come  when  we  shall  know,  if  not  the 
full  truth,  at  least  enough  to  justify  a  conclusion  as  to  the  com- 
parative losses.  Until  that  time  comes,  we  may  accept  the  view 
that,  measured  by  the  narrow  standard  of  ships  and  lives  lost, 
the  Germans  had  the  advantage.  This  may  be  true,  and  yet  it 
may  be  also  true  that  the  real  victory  was  with  the  British, 
since  they  may  have  bought  with  their  losses,  great  as  these 
were,  that  for  which  they  could  well  afford  to  pay  an  even 
higher  price. 

According  to  the  statement  of  Admiral  Jellicoe,  the  British 
fleet  has  for  some  months  past  made  a  practice  of  sweeping  the 
North  Sea  from  time  to  time  with  practically  its  whole  force  of 
fighting  ships,  with  a  view  to  discouraging  raids  by  the  German 
fleet,  and  in  the  hope  of  meeting  any  force  which  might,  whether 
for  raiding  or  for  any  other  purpose,  have  ventured  out  beyond 
the  fortifications  and  mine  fields  of  the  Helgoland  Bight. 

On  May  31,  1916,  the  fleet  was  engaged  in  one  of  these  excur- 
sions, apparently  with  no  knowledge  that  the  German  fleet  was 
to  be  abroad  at  the  same  time. 

In  accordance  with  what  appears  to  have  been  the  general 
practice,  the  Grand  Fleet  was  divided;  the  main  fighting  force 
under  the  command  of  Admiral  Jellicoe  himself  occupying  a 
position  near  the  middle  of  the  North  Sea,  while  the  two  battle- 
cruiser  divisions  under  Vice  Admiral  Beatty,  supported  by  a 
division  of  dreadnoughts  of  the  Queen  Elizabeth  class  under 
Rear  Admiral  Evan-Thomas,  were  some  seventy  miles  to  the 
southward  (Plate  I).  Admiral  Jellicoe  had  a  division  of  battle 
cruisers  and  another  of  armored  cruisers  in  addition  to  his 
dreadnoughts,  and  both  he  and  Admiral  Beatty  were  well  pro- 
vided with  destroyers  and  light  cruisers. 

The  day  was  pleasant,  but  marked  by  the  characteristic  misti- 
ness of  North  Sea  weather;  and  as  the  afternoon  wore  on  the 
mist  took  on  more  and  more  the  character  of  light  drifting  fog, 
making  it  impossible  at  times  to  see  clearly  more  than  two  or 
three  miles. 



Jelli&oe   70  miles 
north  of  Beatty 


5ritish  Baitleahip 

Evan  -Tho.was 

t  A 


Dritish  Battle  Cruisers    J 


\     V^'''*'5^  Battleship  Fleet 
Q  (Jellicoe) 


»  • 

•  .,^VCru/^^t 


Battle  Cruisers 

C      n 


(Von  Hipper) 


Von  Sheer  6o  Miles 

South  of  Von  Hipper 

\     German  Bat Hesh.p 

1         ,   ^'«'«'^ 


1         (Von  Sheer) 









H^n  R»ef 

Distribution  of  Forces 

Not  drawn  to  5cale.  all  distances  distorted. 



At  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  Admiral  Beatty's  detachment 
was  steaming  on  a  northerly  course,  being  then  about  ninety  miles 
west  of  the  coast  of  Denmark,  accompanied  by  several  flotillas  of 
destroyers  and  with  a  screen  of  light  cruisers  thrown  out  to  the 
north  and  east. 

At  about  2.20  p.  m.  the  Galatea,  one  of  the  light  cruisers  en- 
gaged in  scouting  east  of  Beatty's  battle  cruisers,  reported  smoke 
on  the  horizon  to  the  eastward,  and  started  to  investigate,  the 
battle  cruisers  taking  up  full  speed  and  following.  The  Galatea 
and  her  consorts  were  soon  afterward  engaged  with  a  German 
force  of  similar  type,  and  at  3.80  p.  m.  a  squadron  of  five 
battle  cruisers  was  made  out  some  twelve  miles  farther  to  the 

Beatty  immediately  swung  off  to  the  southeast  in  the  hope  of 
getting  between  the  German  squadron  and  its  base;  but  the 
German  commander,  Vice  Admiral  von  Hipper,  changed  course 
correspondingly,  and  the  two  squadrons  continued  on  courses 
nearly  parallel  but  somewhat  converging  until,  at  about  3.45 
p.  m.,  fire  was  opened  on  both  sides,  the  range  at  that  time 
being  approximately  nine  miles.  About  ten  minutes  after  the 
battle  was  fully  joined,  the  Indefatigable,  the  rear  ship  of 
the  British  column,  was  struck  by  a  broadside  from  one  or  more 
of  the  enemy  ships,  and  blew  up ;  and  twenty  minutes  later  the 
Queen  Mary,  latest  and  most  powerful  of  the  British  battle 
cruisers,  met  the  same  fate.  The  suddenness  and  completeness 
of  the  disaster  to  these  two  splendid  ships  has  not  yet  been  ex- 
plained and  perhaps  never  will  be.  Their  elimination  threw  the 
advantage  of  numbers  actually  engaged  from  the  British  to  the 
German  side,  but  very  shortly  afterward  the  leading  ships  of 
Rear  Admiral  Thomas's  dreadnought  division  came  within  range 
and  opened  fire  (Plate  II),  thus  throwing  the  superiority  again 
to  the  British  side.  For  the  next  half  hour  or  thereabouts.  Von 
Hipper's  five  battle  cruisers  were  pitted  against  four  battle 
cruisers  and  four  dreadnoughts,  and  Beatty  reports  that  their 
fire  fell  off  materially,  as  would  naturally  be  the  case.  They 
appear,  however,  to  have  stood  up  gallantly  under  the  heavy 
punishment  to  which  they  must  have  been  subjected. 

76  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Beatty  was  drawing  slowly  ahead,  though  with  little  prospect 
of  being  able  to  throw  his  force  across  the  enemy's  van,  as  he 
had  hoped  to  do,  his  plan  being  not  only  to  cut  the  Germans  off 
from  their  base,  but  to  "cap"  their  column  and  concentrate  the 
fire  of  his  whole  force  on  Von  Hipper's  leading  ships.  Had  he 
been  able  to  do  this  he  would  have  secured  the  tactical  advantage 
which  is  the  object  of  all  maneuvering  in  a  naval  engagement, 
and  would  at  the  same  time  have  compelled  Von  Hipper  to  run 
to  the  northward  toward  the  point  from  which  Jellicoe  was 
known  to  be  approaching  at  the  highest  speed  of  his  dread- 
noughts. With  this  thought  in  mind,  Beatty  was  holding  on  to 
the  southward,  taking  full  advantage  of  his  superiority  in  both 
speed  and  gunfire,  when  a  column  of  German  dreadnoughts  was 
sighted  in  the  southeast  approaching  at  full  speed  to  form  a 
junction  with  Von  Hipper 's  squadron  (Plate  II).  Seeing  him- 
self thus  outmatched,  Beatty  made  a  quick  change  of  plan. 
There  was  no  longer  any  hope  of  carrying  out  the  plan  of  throw- 
fng  himself  across  the  head  of  the  German  column,  but  if  Von 
Hipper  could  not  be  driven  into  Jellicoe's  arms  it  was  conceivable 
that  he  might  be  led  there,  and  with  him  the  additional  force 
that  Von  Scheer  was  bringing  up  to  join  him.  So  Beatty  turned 
to  the  northward,  and,  as  he  had  hoped,  Von  Hipper  followed ; 
not,  however,  until  he  had  run  far  enough  on  the  old  course  to 
effect  a  junction  with  Von  Scheer,  whose  battleships  fell  in 
astern  of  the  battle  cruisers  as  these  last  swung  around  to  the 
northward  and  took  up  a  course  parallel  to  that  of  Beatty  and 
Thomas.  Thus  the  running  fight  was  resumed,  with  the  differ- 
ence that  both  forces  were  now  heading  at  full  speed  toward  the 
point  from  which  Beatty  knew  Jellicoe  to  be  approaching.  Von 
Hipper*s  delay  in  turning  had  permitted  Beatty  to  draw  ahead, 
and  the  relative  positions  of  the  engaged  squadrons  were  now 
those  shown  in  Plate  III. 

It  is  during  this  part  of  the  fight  that  the  British  accounts 
speak  of  Beatty  as  engaging  the  whole  German  fleet  and  as 
being  thus  tremendously  overmatched.  A  moment's  study  of 
Plate  III  will  make  it  clear  that  this  claim  is  not  tenable.  With- 
out fuller  information  than  we  have  of  positions  and  distances, 




4  Dreadnougnl5\        , 
Comin9  within  range  ^^    r 


sunk         ^ 



¥am  rrmu    M  OOO  y^tcf^ 

Qu««n  Mary^nQ^ 



Beallv  Uarns  o\  approach 

of  Enemy  baitlesnips 

and  turna  north. 


•  •o'4:40  p.  M. 
(Head  of  Column) 

VonHipp€»r  iurna  north 
diter  effect  I  no  junction* 
tehee  r. 

with  Von  Scl 

The  Running  Fighi  to  the  Southward.      4^52pm 

3:4-8  to  4:40  P.M. 

PLATE  n. 

(Hedd  ot  Column)  .* 

German  batfWshipa 

Von  Scheer  approaching 

from    thi&  qoart-- 



it  is  impossible  to  say  exactly  how  many  of  Von  Scheer's  ships 
were  able  to  fire  on  Beatty's  column,  but  certainly  the  total 
German  force  within  effective  range  could  not  have  been  ma- 
terially larger  than  the  British  force  it  was  engaging. 

As  far  as  can  be  figured  out  from  Beatty's  own  report,  the 
only  time  when  he  was  actually  pitted  against  a  force  superior  to 
his  own,  within  fighting  range,  was  after  he  had  lost  the  Inde- 
fatigable  and  the  Queen  Mary,  and  before  the  dreadnoughts  of 
Admiral  Thomas's  force  had  reached  a  point  from  which  they 
were  able  to  open  an  effective  fire.  He  entered  the  fight  with  six 
battle  cruisers  opposed  to  five.  He  then,  for  a  short  time,  had 
four  opposed  to  five.  A  little  later  he  had  four  battle  cruisers 
and  four  dreadnoughts  opposed  to  five  battle  cruisers,  and  a  little 
later  still,  as  has  just  been  stated,  the  forces  actually  opposed 
within  firing  range  became  practically  equal. 

About  six  o'clock,  having  gained  enough  to  admit  of  an  at- 
tempt to  "cap,"  Beatty  turned  his  head  to  the  eastward,  but  Von 
Hipper  refused  to  accept  this  disadvantage  and  turned  east  him- 
self, thus  continuing  the  parallel  fight  on  a  large  curve  tending 
more  and  more  to  the  east  (Plate  IV) .  It  was  about  this  time 
that  the  Lutzow,  Von  Hlpper's  flagship  and  the  leader  of  the 
German  column,  dropped  out  of  the  formation,  having  been  so 
badly  damaged  that  she  could  no  longer  maintain  her  position  in 
the  formation.  Von  Hipper,  calling  a  destroyer  alongside, 
boarded  her  and  proceeded,  through  a  storm  of  shell,  to  the 
Moltke,  on  which  he  resumed  his  place  at  the  head  of  the  fleet. 

Jellicoe,  seventy  miles  to  the  northward  with  the  main  fight- 
ing force,  received  word  about  three  o'clock  that  the  scouting 
force  was  in  contact  with  the  enemy,  and  started  at  once  to  effect 
a  junction  with  Beatty.  He  may  well  have  wished  at  that  mo- 
ment that  his  forces  were  separated  somewhat  less  widely. 
Under  his  immediate  command  he  had  three  squadrons  of  the 
latest  and  most  powerful  fighting  ships  in  the  world,  twenty-five 
in  all,  including  his  own  flagship,  the  Iron  Duke.  His  squadrons 
were  led  by  three  of  the  youngest  and  most  efficient  vice  admirals 
in  the  service.  Sir  Cecil  Burney,  Sir  Thomas  Jerram,  and  Sir 
Doveton  Sturdee  (Plate  V) .    With  him  also  were  Rear  Admirals 


o   2 
ft  5 

to    * 

3    V 

§     I 

.2  S 

H    = 

WllllllllUtlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllilllililliiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, 1,1, ,„|,|„, ,„„,„„, I 




6:00RM..o'  '^ 
Beatty  turns  eaot  acroM       »* 
Von  Hipp«rs  coura*.  [ 

6.00  P. 

A  Battle  Cruidens 













6   ♦ 

'-0-4:40  rm: 

(•Mid  a<  Coluiitii ) 










Running  Fight  to  Northward 
4:40 to  6:00  P.M. 

,  4:52  RM.^—': 

f  Heed  of  Column) 


V^n  ScWer  falls  in    4 
ost«m  o4  Von  Hipp<»r    ^ 


Baitlesl^ip        ft 

F— War  St.  5 

80  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Hood  and  Arbuthnot,  the  former  commanding  three  of  the  earliei 
battle  cruisers,  Invincible,  Inflexible,  and  Indomitable,  the  latter 
commanding  four  armored  cruisers,  of  which  we  shall  hear  more 

A  majority  of  the  battleships  were  capable  of  a  speed  of  21  to 
22  knots,  but  it  is  improbable  that  the  force,  as  a  whole,  could  do 
better  than  20  knots.  Hood,  with  his  "Invincibles,'*  was  capable 
of  from  27  to  28  knots,  and  Jellicoe  appears  to  have  sent  him  on 
ahead  to  reenforce  Beatty  at  the  earliest  possible  moment,  while 
following  himself  at  a  speed  which,  he  says,  strained  the  older 
ships  of  his  force  to  the  utmost.  The  formation  of  the  fleet  was 
probably  somewhat  like  that  shown  at  A,  Plate  V,  which  doubt- 
less passed  into  B  before  fighting  range  was  reached. 

Of  the  southward  sweep  of  this  great  armada,  the  most 
tremendous  fighting  force  the  world  has  ever  seen  on  sea  or 
land,  we  have  no  record.  They  started.  They  arrived.  Of  the 
hours  that  intervened  no  word  has  been  said.  Yet  it  is  not 
difficult  to  picture  something  of  the  dramatic  tenseness  of  the 
race.  The  admirals,  their  staffs,  the  captains  of  the  individual 
ships,  all  were  on  the  bridges,  and  there  remained  not  only 
through  the  race  to  reach  the  battle  area,  but  through  all  the 
fighting  after  they  had  closed  with  the  enemy.  The  carefully 
worked-out  plans  for  directing  everything  from  the  shelter  of 
the  conning  tower  were  thrown  aside  without  a  thought.  So 
there  we  see  them,  grouped  in  the  most  exposed  positions  on 
their  ships,  straining  their  eyes  through  the  haze  for  the  first 
glimpse  of  friend  or  foe,  and  urging  those  below,  at  the  fires  and 
the  throttle,  to  squeeze  out  every  fraction  of  a  knot  that  boilers 
and  turbines  could  be  made  to  yield. 

Word  must  have  been  received  by  wireless  of  the  loss  of  the 
Indefatigable  and  the  Queen  Mary,  while  the  battleships  were 
still  fifty  or  sixty  miles  away,  for  Beatty  at  this  time  was  run- 
ning south  faster  than  Jellicoe  could  follow.  It  was  perhaps  at 
this  time  that  Hood  was  dispatched  at  full  speed  to  add  his  three 
battle  cruisers  to  the  four  that  remained  to  Beatty.  They  ar- 
rived upon  the  scene  about  6.15  p.  m.,  shortly  after  Beatty  had 
turned  eastward,  and  swung  in  ahead  of  Beatty's  column,  which, 










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82  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

as  thus  reenforced,  consisted  of  seven  battle  cruisers  and  four 
dreadnoughts  (Plate  IV).  Admiral  Beatty  writes  in  terms  of 
enthusiastic  admiration  of  the  way  in  which  Hood  brought  his 
ships  into  action,  and  it  is  easy  to  understand  the  thrill  with 
which  he  must  have  welcomed  this  addition  to  his  force. 

But  his  satisfaction  was  not  of  long  duration.  Hardly  had  the 
Invincible,  Hood's  flagship,  settled  down  on  her  new  course  and 
opened  fire  than  she  disappeared  in  a  great  burst  of  smoke  and 
flame.  Here,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Indefatigable  and  the  Queen 
Mary,  the  appalling  suddenness  and  completeness  of  the  disaster 
makes  it  impossible  of  explanation.  The  survivors  from  all  three 
of  the  ships  totaled  only  about  one  hundred,  and  none  of  these 
are  able  to  throw  any  light  upon  the  matter. 

By  this  time  Beatty*s  whole  column  had  completed  the  turn 
from  north  to  east,  and  Jellicoe  was  in  sight  to  the  northward 
With  his  twenty-five  dreadnoughts,  coming  on  at  twenty  knots  or 
more  straight  for  the  point  where  Beatty's  column  blocked  his 
approach.    Jellicoe  writes  of  this  situation : 

"Meanwhile,  at  5.45  p.  m.,  the  report  of  guns  had  become 
audible  to  me,  and  at  5.55  p.  m.  flashes  were  visible  from  ahead 
around  to  the  starboard  beam,  although  in  the  mist  no  ships 
could  be  distinguished,  and  the  position  of  the  enemy's  fleet  could 
not  be  determined. 

".  .  .  At  this  period,  when  the  battle  fleet  was  meeting  the 
battle  cruisers  and  the  Fifth  Battle  Squadron,  great  care  was 
necessary  to  ensure  that  our  own  ships  were  not  mistaken  for 
enemy  vessels." 

Here  is  a  bald  description  of  a  situation  which  must  have  been 
charged  with  almost  overwhelming  anxiety  for  the  commander 
in  chief.  He  knew  that  just  ahead  of  him  a  tremendous  battle 
was  in  progress,  but  of  the  disposition  of  the  forces  engaged  he 
had  only  such  knowledge  as  he  could  gather  from  the  few  frag- 
mentary wireless  messages  that  Beatty  had  found  time  to  flash 
to  him.  He  could  see  but  a  short  distance,  and  he  knew  that 
through  the  cloud  of  mingled  fog  and  smoke  into  which  he  was 
rushing  at  top  speed,  all  ships  would  look  much  alike.  That  he 
was  able  to  bring  his  great  force  into  action  and  into  effective 










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84  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

cooperation  with  Beatty  without  accident  or  delay  is  evidence  of 
high  tactical  skill  on  his  part  and  on  that  of  every  officer  under 
his  command;  and,  what  is  even  more  creditable,  of  supremely 
efficient  coordination  of  all  parts  of  the  tremendous  machine 
which  responded  so  harmoniously  to  his  will. 

As  Jellicoe's  leading  ships  appeared  through  the  fog,  Beatty 
realized  that  he  must  make  an  opening  in  his  column  to  let  them 
through.  Accordingly,  he  called  upon  his  own  fast  battle 
cruisers  for  their  highest  speed  and  drew  away  to  the  eastward, 
at  the  same  time  signaling  Admiral  Evan-Thomas  to  reduce 
speed  and  drop  back  (Plate  VI).  The  maneuver  was  perfectly 
conceived  and  perfectly  timed.  As  Jellicoe  approached  he  found 
Beatty's  column  opening  before  him.  As  he  swept  on  through, 
steering  south  toward  the  head  of  the  German  line,  Beatty  also 
swung  south  on  a  course  parallel  and  a  little  to  the  eastward, 
and,  by  virtue  of  his  high  speed,  a  little  ahead.  The  result  was 
that  neither  force  blanketed  the  other  for  a  moment,  and  the 
head  of  the  German  column  a  little  later  found  itself  under  the 
concentrated  fire  of  practically  the  whole  British  fleet.  It  may 
well  have  "crumpled"  as  Jellicoe  says  it  did;  and  whether  it  is 
true  or  not,  as  British  reports  insist,  that  several  of  the  leading 
ships  were  destroyed  at  this  time,  it  appears  to  be  true,  at  least, 
that  a  second  battle  cruiser  dropped  out,  leaving  only  three  of 
this  type  under  Von  Hipper's  command. 

The  situation  quickly  passed  from  that  shown  in  Plate  VI  to 
that  shown  in  Plate  VII.  The  British  had  succeeded  in  estab- 
lishing a  cap,  and  their  position  was  so  favorable  that  it  looked 
as  if  nothing  could  save  the  Germans  from  destruction.  But 
night  was  coming  on,  the  mist  was  thickening  into  fog,  and  the 
only  point  of  aim  for  either  fleet  was  that  afforded  by  the  flash  of 
the  enemy's  guns.  Von  Scheer,  who,  as  Von  Hipper's  senior, 
was  in  command  of  the  German  forces  as  a  whole,  turned  from 
east  to  west,  each  ship  swinging  independently,  and  sent  his 
whole  force  of  destroyers  at  top  speed  against  the  enemy.  It 
would  be  difficult  to  imagine  conditions  more  favorable  for  such 
an  attack.  Jellicoe  saw  the  opportunity  and  acted  upon  it  as 
quickly  as  did  Von  Scheer,  with  the  result  that  as  the  German 




86  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 


(25  Ships  to  this  column)  V 

^     Jellicoe 



^^^German  Fleet  heading  west  and  ^ 

^     sendinq  out   destroyers    agdinet  ^'^  Beattv 

th$  encirclina    British    Forces.  «^  ^  ovQWy 


160  miles  to  Hellqoland 


Jellicoe  and  Beatt>  pass  around  f  lanK  of  Gernnan  Fleet, 
capping"  it  and  interposing  between  the  Fleet  and  its  base. 

Both  sides  send  owt  destroyer  attacks,  whicV>  continue  throucjHout  the  night 



destroyers  swept  toward  the  British  fleet  they  met  midway 
the  British  destroyers  bent  on  a  similar  mission,  and  a  battle 
followed  in  the  fog  between  destroyers,  which  broke  up  both 
attacks  against  the  main  fleets  and  saved  the  capital  ships  on 
both  sides  from  what  must  otherwise  have  been  very  serious 
danger.  Meantime,  as  the  German  fleet  drew  off  to  the  westward, 
Jellicoe  and  Beatty  passed  completely  around  the  German  flank 
and  reached  a  position  to  the  southward  and  between  the  Ger- 
man fleet  and  its  base  at  Helgoland  (Plate  VHI).  By  the  time 
this  was  accomplished  it  was  nearly  ten  o'clock,  and  the  long  day 
of  that  high  northern  latitude  was  passing  into  darkness  ren- 
dered darker  by  the  fog.  Contact  between  the  main  fleets  had 
been  lost,  and  firing  had  ceased.  Both  sides  continued  destroyer 
attacks  through  the  night,  and  some  of  these  were  delivered  with 
great  dash  and  forced  home  with  splendid  determination.  The 
British  claim  to  have  sunk  at  least  two  of  the  German  capital 
ships  during  these  attacks.    But  this  the  Germans  deny. 

The  Battle  of  Horn  Reef,  if  that  is  to  be  its  name,  was  at  an 
end.  The  German  fleet,  now  heading  west,  evidently  soon  after- 
ward headed  south  toward  the  secure  waters  of  the  Helgoland 
Bight,  which  it  was  allowed  to  reach  without  interference  by  the 
British  main  fleet  and  apparently  without  discovery.  The  British 
may  well  have  been  cautious  during  the  night  about  venturing 
far  into  the  fog,  which,  as  they  knew,  if  it  concealed  the  capital 
ships  of  Von  Hipper  and  Von  Scheer,  concealed  also  their  de- 
stroyers, and  possibly  a  stretch  of  water  strewn  with  mines  laid 
out  by  the  retreating  enemy.  It  must  not  be  forgotten,  however, 
that  the  British  were  between  the  German  fleet  and  its  base  when 
they  ceased  the  offensive  for  the  night,  and  that  only  a  few 
hours,  in  that  high  latitude,  separate  darkness  from  dawn. 

With  daylight,  which  was  due  by  two  o'clock  or  thereabouts, 
and  with  the  lifting  of  the  fog,  Jellicoe  reports  that  he  searched 
to  the  northward  and  found  no  enemy.  The  following  day, 
June  2,  1916,  his  fleet  was  back  in  port  taking  account  of  its 
losses,  which  were  undeniably  great,  though  whether  or  not  they 
were  greater  than  those  of  the  enemy,  only  the  future  can  prove. 

88  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

10:00  RM. 

Darkness  and  Fog 

Germans  moving  West,  pcotectinq  themselves 
and  iittacking  British  vwilh  destroyers  ^^' 
and  Uqht  cruisers.  ,^' 

\       \  ^ 

\        \        ^        ^ 



^  Beatty  ^  \  Q 

A  '<•  Q  * 

P  ^  A  ^ 

^  Jellicoe    Q  ft  V  Q 

^  \  ^ 

^British  Main  Fleet 
^100  miles  to  Hehqoldnd) 

British  Forces  heading  off  to  Southward  to  avoid  atfack  during 
darkness  and  to  keep  between  German  Fleet  and  its  Base. 
Protectinq  rear  with  Destroyers  and  Light  CruiaervS. 

PLATE  Vffl 




ONE  of  the  most  inexplicable  incidents  of  the  day  occurred  as 
Jellicoe's  fleet  approached  the  battle  area  and  shortly  before 
the  leading  ship  of  his  column  passed  through  the  opening  in 
Beatty's  column  as  already  described.  The  four  armored  cruisers, 
Duke  of  Edinburgh,  Defence,  Warrior,  and  Black  Prince,  under 
Rear  Admiral  Arbuthnot,  were  in  company  with  Jellicoe,  but 
separated  from  his  main  force  by  several  miles.  Tliese  ships 
were  lightly  armed  and  very  lightly  armored,  and  had  absolutely 
no  excuse  for  taking  part  in  the  main  battle.  Yet  they  now 
appeared,  somewhat  in  advance  of  the  main  fleet  and  to  the  west- 
ward of  it,  standing  down  ahead  of  Evan-Thomas's  division  of 
battleships,  which,  as  has  been  explained,  had  dropped  back  to 
allow  Jellicoe  to  pass  ahead  of  them.  As  Arbuthnot  appeared 
from  the  mist,  several  German  ships  opened  on  him  at  short 
range,  and  within  a  very  few  moments  three  of  his  four  ships 
were  destroyed.  The  Defence  and  Black  Prince  were  sunk  im- 
mediately. The  Warrior  was  so  badly  damaged  that  she  sank 
during  the  night  while  trying  to  make  port.  The  Duke  of  Edin- 
burgh escaped. 

Another  incident  belonging  to  this  phase  of  the  battle  was 
the  jamming  of  the  steering  gear  of  the  War  spite,  of  Admiral 
Evan-Thomas's  division  of  dreadnoughts.  Apparently  the  helm 
jammed  when  in  the  hard-over  position,  and  the  ship  for  some 
time  ran  around  in  a  circle.  Through  the  whole  of  this  time  she 
was  under  heavy  fire,  and  is  reported  to  have  been  struck  more 
than  one  hundred  times  by  heavy  shells,  in  spite  of  which  she 
later  returned  to  her  position  in  column  and  continued  the  fighti 
In  the  course  of  her  erratic  maneuvers,  while  not  under  control, 
she  circled  around  the  Warrior  and  received  so  much  of  the  fire 
intended  for  that  ship  as  to  justify  the  belief  that  her  accident 
saved  the  Warrior  from  immediate  destruction  and  made  it  pos- 

90  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

sible,  later,  to  rescue  her  crew  before  she  finally  sank,  as  she  did 
during  the  night  following  the  battle.  It  was  for  a  time  believed 
that  the  Warspite  had  deliberately  intervened  to  save  the  War- 
rior, and  there  was  much  talk  of  the  "chivalry'*  of  the  Warspite^s 
commander  in  thus  risking  his  own  ship  to  save  another — ^this 
from  those  who  overlooked  the  fact  that  the  duty  of  the  Warspite, 
as  one  of  the  most  valuable  fighting  units  of  the  fleet,  was  to  keep 
place  in  line  as  long  as  possible,  and  to  carry  out  the  general 
battle  plan ;  which,  of  course,  is  exactly  what  the  Warspite  did 
to  the  best  of  her  ability. 

It  is  an  interesting  fact  that  of  the  small  number  of  capital 
ships  lost  or  disabled,  four  were  flagships.  Two  rear  admirals, 
Hood  and  Arbuthnot,  went  down  with  their  ships.  Two  vice 
admirals.  Von  Hipper  and  Bumey,  shifted  their  flags  in  the 
thickest  of  the  fight.  Von  Hipper  from  the  Liltzow  to  the  Moltke, 
Bumey  from  the  Marlborough  to  the  Revenge. 

A  large  part  of  Admiral  Jellicoe's  official  report  deals  with  the 
work  of  the  light  cruisers  and  destroyers,  which,  while  neces- 
sarily restricted  to  a  secondary  role,  contributed  in  many  ways 
to  the  operations  of  the  main  fighting  forces,  securing  and  trans- 
mitting information,  attacking  at  critical  times,  and  repelling 
attacks  from  the  corresponding  craft  of  the  enemy.  All  of  these 
tasks  took  on  a  special  importance  as  the  afternoon  advanced, 
because  of  the  decreasing  visibility  due  to  fog  and  darkness. 
The  light  cruisers  were  constantly  employed  in  keeping  touch 
with  the  enemy,  whose  capital  ships  they  approached  at  times  to 
within  two  or  three  thousand  yards.  And  the  destroyers  of  both 
fleets  were  repeatedly  sent  at  full  speed  through  banks  of  fog 
within  which  the  enemy  battleships  were  known  to  be  concealed. 
It  is  rather  remarkable  that  so  few  of  either  type  were  lost,  and 
still  more  remarkable,  so  far  as  the  destroyers  are  concerned, 
that  so  few  of  the  large  ships  were  torpedoed. 

The  Marlborough  was  struck  and  badly  damaged,  but  she 
made  her  way  safely  to  port.  The  Frauenlob,  Rostock,  and  Pom- 
mem  were  sunk.  And  that  is  the  whole  story  so  far  as  known 
at  present.  Yet  several  hundred  torpedoes  must  have  been  dis- 
charged, most  of  them  at  ranges  within  5,000  yards.    It  looks  a 


little  as  if  the  world  would  be  obliged  to  modify  the  view  that  has 
been  held  of  late  with  reference  to  the  efficiency  of  the  torpedo — 
or  at  least  of  the  torpedo  as  carried  by  the  destroyer. 

The  loss  of  the  three  large  battle  cruisers,  Indefatigable,  Irv- 
vincible,  and  Queen  Mary  is,  and  will  always  remain,  the  most 
dramatic  incident  of  the  battle,  and  the  most  inexplicable.  It  is 
doubtful  if  we  shall  ever  know  the  facts,  but  that  something 
more  than  gunfire  was  involved  is  made  clear  by  the  fact  that  in 
each  case  the  ship  was  destroyed  by  an  explosion.  Whether  this 
was  due  to  a  shell  actually  penetrating  the  magazine,  or  to  the 
ignition  of  exposed  charges  of  powder,  or  to  a  torpedo  or  a  mine 
exploding  outside  in  the  vicinity  of  the  magazine,  it  is  impossible 
to  do  more  than  conjecture.  There  is  a  suggestion  of  something 
known,  but  kept  back,  in  the  following  paragraph  from  a  de- 
scription of  the  battle  by  Mr.  Arthur  Pollen,  which  is  presumably 
based  upon  information  furnished  by  the  British  admiralty: 

"As  to  the  true  explanation  of  the  loss  of  the  three  ships  that 
did  blow  up,  the  admiralty,  no  doubt,  will  give  this  to  the  public 
if  it  is  thought  wise  to  do  so.  But  there  can  be  no  harm  in 
saying  this.  The  explanation  of  the  sinking  of  each  of  these 
ships  by  a  single  lucky  shot — both  they  and  practically  all  the 
other  cruisers  were  hit  repeatedly  by  shots  that  did  no  harm — 
is,  in  the  first  place,  identical.  Next,  it  does  not  lie  in  the  fact 
that  the  ships  were  insufficiently  armored  to  keep  out  big  shell. 
Next,  the  fatal  explosion  was  not  caused  by  a  mine  or  by  a 
torpedo.  Lastly,  it  is  in  no  sense  due  to  any  instability  or  any 
other  dangerous  characteristic  of  the  propellants  or  explosives 
carried  on  board.  I  am  free  to  confess  that  when  I  first  heard 
of  these  ships  going  down  as  rapidly  as  they  did,  one  of  two 
conclusions  seemed  to  be  irresistible — either  a  shell  had  pene- 
trated the  lightly  armored  sides  and  burst  in  the  magazine,  or 
a  mine  or  torpedo  had  exploded  immediately  beneath  it.  But 
neither  explanation  is  right." 

One  of  the  most  striking  and  surprising  features  about  the 
battle  is  the  closeness  with  which  it  followed  conventional  lines, 
both  in  the  types  of  vessels  and  weapons  used  and  in  the  manner 
of  using  them.    Neither  submarines  nor  Zeppelins  played  any^ 

92  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

part,  although  both  were  at  hand.  Some  effective  scouting  was 
done  by  an  aeroplane  sent  up  from  one  of  the  British  cruisers 
early  in  the  afternoon,  and  the  British  report  that  they  saw  and 
fired  on  a  Zeppelin  early  in  the  morning  of  June  1,  1916.  But 
this  is  all. 

There  have  been  stories  for  many  months  of  a  17-inch  gun  of 
marvelous  power  carried  by  German  dreadnoughts,  but  no  such 
weapon  made  its  appearance  on  this  occasion. 

And  the  tactics  employed  on  both  sides  were  as  conventional  as 
the  weapons  used.  The  fight  was  a  running  fight  in  parallel 
columns  from  the  moment  when  Beatty  and  Von  Hipper  turned 
simultaneously  toward  the  south  upon  their  first  contact  with 
each  other,  until  night  and  fog  separated  them  at  the  end. 
Beatty's  constant  effort  to  secure  a  "cap"  contained  no  element 
of  novelty,  and  Von  Hipper's  reply,  refusing  the  cap  by  turning 
his  head  away  and  swinging  slowly  on  a  parallel  interior  curve, 
was  the  conventional,  as  it  was  the  proper,  reply.  Unfortunately, 
as  we  shall  presently  have  occasion  to  note,  the  German  fleet  ulti- 
mately allowed  itself  to  be  capped,  with  results  which  ought  to 
have  been  far  more  disastrous  than  they  actually  were.  The  de- 
stroyers availed  themselves  of  the  opportunities  for  attack  pre- 
sented from  time  to  time  by  smoke  and  fog,  and  their  drive  was 
stopped  by  opposing  destroyers. 

So  little  is  known  of  the  German  injuries  that  there  is  hardly 
sufficient  ground  for  comment  on  the  British  marksmanship,  but 
it  does  not  appear  to  have  been  what  the  world  had  expected. 
Exactly  the  reverse  is  true  of  the  German  marksmanship,  espe- 
cially at  long  ranges.  It  was  surprisingly  good,  and  the  most 
surprising  thing  about  it  was  the  promptness  with  which  it 
found  the  target.  The  Indefatigable  was  blown  up  ten  minutes 
after  she  came  under  fire.  Hood,  in  the  Invincible,  had  barely 
gained  his  place  in  line  ahead  of  Beatty's  column  when  the  ship 
was  smothered  by  a  perfect  avalanche  of  shells.  If  it  is  true 
that  the  Germans  had  the  best  of  the  fight  so  far  as  material 
damage  is  concerned,  the  explanation  must  be  sought  in  their 
unexpectedly  excellent  marksmanship,  with,  perhaps,  some 
sinister  factor  added,  either  of  weakness  in  the  British  ships  or 


of  amazing  power  in  the  German  shells,  yet  to  be  made  known. 
It  should  be  noted  that  the  sinking  of  the  Indefatigable  and 
the  Queen  Mary  belongs  to  a  phase  of  battle  in  which  Beatty  had 
a  distinct  advantage  of  force,  his  six  battle  cruisers  being  op- 
posed to  live. 

While  the  torpedo,  as  has  been  said,  played  no  important  part 
in  the  action,  the  destroyers  on  both  sides  appear  to  have  been 
active  and  enterprising,  and  if  they  accomplished  little  in  a 
material  way,  the  threat  involved  in  their  presence  and  their 
activity  had  an  important  moral  effect  at  several  critical  stages 
of  the  battle.  When  Jellicoe  decided  not  to  force  his  offensive 
during  the  night  he  was  no  doubt  influenced  in  a  large  degree  by 
the  menace  of  the  German  destroyers. 

Destroyers,  too,  contributed  indirectly  to  the  loss  of  Arbuth- 
not's  armored  cruisers.  When  Jellicoe's  fleet  was  seen  approach- 
ing, ''appearing  shadowlike  from  the  haze  bank  to  the  north- 
east,*' the  German  destroyers  were  thrown  against  them,  and  it 
was  apparently  to  meet  and  check  this  threat  that  Rear  Admiral 
Arbuthnot  pushed  forward  with  his  armored  cruisers  into  the 
area  between  the  two  main  battle  lines.  It  may  be  that  he  could 
not  see  what  lay  behind  the  thrust  he  sought  to  parry.  Both  the 
British  and  the  German  stories  of  the  battle  assume  that  he  was 
surprised.  But  whether  this  is  true  or  not,  the  fact  is  that  it 
was  in  seeking  to  shield  the  battleships  from  a  destroyer  attack 
that  he  came  under  fire  of  the  main  German  force  and  lost 
three  of  his  ships  almost  immediately ;  for  the  Warrior,  although 
she  remained  afloat  for  several  hours,  was  doomed  from  the  first. 

94  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    VMR 



THE  British  losses  as  reported  officially,  and  no  doubt  truth- 
fully, are  as  follows: 

Officers  and  \ 

Battle  Cruisers  :  Tonnage  Men 

Queen  Mary 27,500  1,000 

Invincible  o 17,250  790 

Indefatigable 18,750  780 

Armored  Cruisers: 

Defence 14,600  850 

Black  Prince 13,500  750 

Warrior 13,500  750 

Destroyers : 

Tipperary 1,850  160 

Turbulent 980  100 

Fortune 950  100 

Sparrowhawk 935  100 

Ardent 950  100 

Nestor 950  100 

Nomad 950  100 

Shark 950  100 

The  reported  German  losses  are  as  follows.    The  actual  losses 
may  be  much  greater : 

Officers  and 

Battle  Cruiser:  Tonnage         Men 

Liitzow   28,000         1,150 

Battleship  : 
Pommern 13,040  736 


Officers  and 
LIGHT  Cruisers:  Tonnage  Men 


Frauenlob 2,657  281 


Rostock 4,820  373 

Destroyers  : 

•  •  • 

Total  Tonnage  Lost 

British 117,150 

German 60,720  (acknowledged) 

Total  Personnel  Lost 

British 6,105 

German 2,414  (acknowledged) 

When  the  losses  above  given  are  analyzed  they  are  found  to 
be  much  less  favorable  to  the  German  side  than  they  appear  to  be 
on  the  surface.  To  begin  with,  we  may  eliminate  the  three 
armored  cruisers  on  the  British  side  as  of  no  military  value 
whatever.  This  reduces  the  effective  tonnage  lost  on  the  British 
side  by  more  than  40,000  tons. 

The  Queen  Mary  and  the  Liitzow  offset  each  other. 

If  we  accept  the  German  claim  that  the  Pommern,  which  was 
lost,  was  actually  the  old  predreadnought  of  that  name,  it  is  fair 
to  say  that  she  offsets  the  Invincible,  There  is,  however,  very 
good  reason  for  believing  that  she  was  a  new  and  very  powerful 
dreadnought.  If  this  is  the  case,  her  loss  easily  offsets  that  of 
both  the  Invincible  and  the  Indefatigable,  Accepting  the  Ger- 
man statement,  however,  as  we  have  done  at  all  other  points,  we 
may  say  that  so  far  as  effective  capital  ships  are  concerned,  the 
British  lost  one  more  than  the  Germans.  This,  after  all,  is  not  a 
very  great  difference,  and  it  is  to  a  large  extent  offset  by  the 
loss  of  four  light  cruisers  which  the  German  admiralty  admit. 
In  destroyers  the  advantage  is  with  the  Germans. 

With  regard  to  the  armored  cruisers  already  referred  to,  it  is 
interesting  to  note  the  fact  that  these  three  ships  were  practically 

G— War  St.  5 

96  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

presented  to  the  Germans,  thus  paralleling  the  fate  of  their 
sister  ships,  the  Cressy,  Hogue,  and  Aboukir,  which,  as  will  be 
remembered,  were  destroyed  by  a  submarine  in  September,  1914, 
under  conditions  of  inexplicable  carelessness.  The  military  loss 
represented  by  all  six  of  these  ships  was  small  (disregarding 
the  loss  of  personnel),  but  they  all  selected  a  fate  which  was  so 
timed,  and  in  its  character  so  spectacular,  as  to  contribute 
enormously  to  the  lessening  of  the  prestige  with  which  the 
British  navy  had  entered  upon  the  war. 

As  bearing  still  further  upon  the  comparative  losses  of  the 
battle,  account  must  be  taken  of  ships  seriously  injured.  Of 
these,  reports  from  sources  apparently  unprejudiced  insist  that 
the  German  fleet  has  a  large  number  and  that  the  number  in- 
cludes several  of  the  most  powerful  ships  that  took  part  in  the 
battle.  It  is  known  that  the  Seydlitz,  one  of  the  latest  and  largest 
of  the  German  battle  cruisers,  was  so  badly  damaged  that  it  will 
be  many  months  before  she  can  take  the  sea  again.  There  are 
stories  of  two  other  large  ships  which  reached  port  in  such  a 
condition  that  it  was  necessary  to  dock  them  at  once  to  keep  them 
from  sinking.  Contrasted  with  this  is  the  fact  that  the  British 
ships  which  reached  port  were  but  little  injured.  This  gives  an 
air  of  probability  to  the  story  that  the  German  fire  tactics  pro- 
vided for  concentrating  the  fire  of  several  of  their  ships  on  some 
one  ship  of  the  enemy's  line  until  she  was  destroyed.  This  would 
explain  the  otherwise  inexplicable  fact  that,  while  the  Indefat- 
igable and  the  Queen  Mary  were  being  overwhelmed,  the  ships 
ahead  and  astern  of  them  were  hardly  struck  at  all. 

It  may  well  be  that  the  total  damage  done  the  German  ships 
by  the  steady  pounding  of  the  whole  line  vastly  exceeds  the 
total  received  by  the  British  ships.  Something  will  be  known  on 
this  subject  when  it  becomes  clear  that  the  Germans  are,  or  are 
not,  ready  to  take  the  sea  again.  If  their  losses  and  their  in- 
juries were  as  unimportant  as  they  would  have  the  world  believe, 
if  their  victory  was  as  great  as  they  claim  that  it  was,  they  should 
be  ready  at  an  early  date  to  challenge  the  British  again,  this 
time  with  a  fleet  practically  intact  as  to  ships,  and  with  a  per- 
sonnel fired  with  enthusiastic  confidence  in  its  own  superiority. 


If,  instead  of  this,  they  resume  the  attitude  of  evasion  which 
they  have  maintained  so  long,  the  inference  will  be  plain  that 
they  have  not  given  the  world  the  truth  with  regard  to  what  the 
battle  of  May  31,  1916,  meant  to  them. 

A  significant  fact  in  this  connection  is  that,  regardless  of  what 
others  may  say  on  the  subject,  the  officers  and  men  of  the  British 
navy  are  convinced  that  the  victory  was  with  them,  and  are 
eager  for  another  chance  at  the  enemy,  which  they  fully  believe 
they  would  have  destroyed  if  night  and  fog  had  not  intervened 
to  stay  their  hand. 

The  net  result  of  the  battle  as  seen  by  the  world,  after  careful 
appraisement  of  the  claims  and  counterclaims  on  both  sides,  is 
that  England  retains  the  full  command  of  the  sea,  with  every 
prospect  of  retaining  it  indefinitely,  but  that  the  British  navy 
has,  for  the  moment,  lost  something  of  the  prestige  which  it  has 
enjoyed  since  the  days  of  Nelson  and  Jervis.  There  is  nothing 
to  support  the  belief  that  the  control  of  the  North  Sea  or  of  any 
other  sea  has  passed,  or  by  any  conceivable  combination  of  cir- 
cumstances can  pass,  into  the  hands  of  Germany  during  the 
present  war,  or  as  a  result  of  the  war. 

All  accounts  of  the  battle  by  those  who  participated  in  it  rep- 
resent the  weather  as  capricious.  The  afternoon  came  in  with 
a  smooth  sea,  a  light  wind,  and  a  clear,  though  somewhat  hazy, 
atmosphere.  The  smoke  of  the  German  ships  was  made  out  at  a 
distance  which  must  have  been  close  to  twenty  miles,  and  the 
range-finding  as  Beatty  and  Von  Hipper  closed  must  have  been 
almost  perfect,  as  is  proved  by  the  promptness  with  which  the 
Germans  began  making  hits  on  the  Queen  Mary  and  the  Inde- 
fatigable. But  this  did  not  continue  long.  Little  wisps  of  fog 
began  to  gather  here  and  there,  drifting  about,  rising  from  time 
to  time  and  then  settling  down  and  gathering  in  clouds  that  at 
times  cut  off  the  view  even  close  at  hand. 

As  the  sun  dropped  toward  the  horizon  it  lighted  up  the 
western  sky  with  a  glow  against  which  the  British  ships  were 
clearly  outlined,  forming  a  perfect  target,  while  the  dark-colored 
German  ships  to  the  eastward  were  projected  against  a  back- 
ground of  fog  as  gray  as  themselves.    It  is  interesting  to  recall 

98  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  fact  that  these  are  exactly  the  conditions  which  existed  when 
the  British  and  German  squadrons  in  the  Pacific  met  off  Coronel. 
In  that  case,  as  in  the  present  one,  the  British  fleet  was  to  the 
westward,  clearly  silhouetted  against  the  twilight  sky.  And  the 
fate  of  the  Indefatigable  and  the  Queen  Mary  was  not  more 
sudden  or  more  tragic  than  that  of  the  Good  Hope  and  the 
Monmouth.  It  may  be  that  the  unfavorable  conditions  were  a 
matter  of  luck  in  both  cases.  But  it  may  be  also  that  the  Ger- 
mans chose  the  time  of  day  for  fighting  in  each  case  to  accord 
with  the  position  which  they  expected  to  occupy. 

The  British  complain  much  of  their  bad  luck,  but  there  are 
well-recognized  advantages  of  position  with  regard  to  light  and 
wind  and  sea,  and  the  Germans  seem  to  have  the  luck,  if  luck  it 
be,  to  find  these  advantages  habitually  on  their  side. 

The  British  call  it  luck  that  both  in  the  battle  off  Horn  Reef 
and  that  off  Dogger  Bank  the  Germans  escaped  destruction 
through  the  coming  on  of  night.  But  how  would  this  claim  look 
if  it  were  shown  that  the  Germans  timed  their  movements  with 
direct  regard  for  this — allowing  themselves  time  for  a  decided 
thrust,  to  be  followed  by  withdrawal  under  cover  of  night  before 
they  could  be  brought  to  a  final  reckoning?  A  careful  study  of 
the  operations  of  the  present  war  shows,  on  both  sea  and  land,  a 
painstaking  attention  on  the  German  side  to  every  detail,  how- 
ever small ;  and  instances  are  not  rare  in  which  they  have  bene- 
fited from  this  in  ways  which  could  hardly  have  been  anticipated. 


There  has  been  much  discussion  of  the  tactics  of  the  battle. 
And  critics,  not  in  foreign  countries  alone,  but  in  England,  have 
pointed  out  errors  of  Beatty  and  Jellicoe,  while  many  more  have 
come  to  their  defense  and  shown  conclusively  that  everything 
done  was  wisely  done,  and  that  the  escape  of  the  German  fleet 
and  the  losses  by  the  British  fleet  were  due  not  to  bad  manage- 
ment but  to  bad  luck. 

The  first  point  selected  for  criticism  by  those  who  venture  to 
criticize  is  the  initial  separation  of  Beatty's  force  from  Jellicoe's 


by  from  sixty  to  seventy  miles.  This  certainly  proved  unfortu- 
nate, and  if  it  was  deliberately  planned  it  is  undoubtedly  open  to 
criticism.  A  reference,  however,  to  the  letter  which  Mr.  Balfour 
addressed  to  the  mayors  of  Yarmouth  and  Lowestoft  on  May  8, 
1916,  suggests  an  explanation  which  makes  the  separation  of 
the  two  forces  seem  a  reasonable  one.  Mr.  Balfour  states,  for 
the  reassurance  of  the  mayors  and  their  people,  that  a  policy  is 
to  be  adopted  of  keeping  a  force  of  fast  and  powerful  ships  in 
certain  ports  near  the  English  Channel,  where  they  will  be  ready 
to  sally  forth  at  short  notice  to  run  down  any  force  which  may 
venture  to  cross  the  North  Sea,  whether  for  raiding  or  for  any 
other  purpose.  This  foreshadows  the  assignment  of  a  force  of 
battle  cruisers  to  the  south  of  England,  and  it  is  altogether  prob- 
able that  Beatty,  instead  of  having  been  detached  by  Jellicoe  for 
operations  to  the  southward,  had,  in  fact,  gone  out  directly  from 
the  mouth  of  the  Thames  to  sweep  northward  toward  a  junction 
with  the  main  fleet.  This  view  of  the  matter  is  confirmed  by  the 
opening  sentence  of  Beatty's  official  report  to  Jellicoe : 

"I  have  the  honor  to  report  that  at  2.37  p.  m.  on  31st  May,  1916, 
I  was  cruising  and  steering  to  the  northward  to  join  your  flag." 

Another  point  which  has  been  criticized  is  the  action  of  Beatty 
in  turning  south  instead  of  north  when  he  first  found  himself  in 
touch  with  Von  Hipper. 

It  is  not  clear  from  the  evidence  at  hand  whether  he  followed 
Von  Hipper  in  this  move  or  whether  Von  Hipper  followed  him. 
If  Von  Hipper  headed  south,  Beatty  could  not  well  refuse  to  fol- 
low him.  Beatty  was  there  to  fight  if  there  was  a  chance  to  fight, 
and  there  is  no  question  that  in  heading  south,  whether  he  was 
following  Von  Hipper's  lead  or  taking  the  lead  himself,  he  took 
the  one  course  which  made  the  existing  chance  a  certainty. 

From  this  point  of  view  he  was  right.  From  another  point  of 
view  he  was  wrong,  for  he  was  running  at  full  speed  directly 
away  from  his  own  supports  and  directly  toward  those  of  his 
opponent.  He  thought,  and  Jelhcoe  appears  to  have  thought, 
that  the  Germans  did  not  wish  to  fight.  But  when  Beatty  finally 
turned  north,  both  Von  Hipper  and  Von  Scheer  followed  readily 
enough,  although  they  must  have  known  pretty  accurately  what 

100  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

lay  ahead  of  them.  Beatty's  error,  then,  if  error  it  was,  seemg 
to  have  been  not  so  much  in  judging  the  tactical  situation  as  in 
judging  the  spirit  of  his  opponent. 

Very  severe  criticism  has  been  directed  against  Beatty  for 
fighting  at  comparatively  short  ranges — 9,000  to  14,000  yards — 
when  he  had  a  sufficient  excess  of  speed  to  choose  his  distance. 
This  is  hardly  a  fair  criticism  of  the  early  stages  of  the  battle,  as 
he  was  then  opposed  to  ships  of  the  same  type  as  his  own,  so  that 
if  he  was  accepting  a  disadvantage  for  himself,  he  was  forcing 
the  same  disadvantage  upon  his  opponent.  And  after  all,  14,000 
yards  is  not  a  short  range,  though  it  is  certainly  much  shorter 
to-day  than  it  would  have  been  ten  years  ago. 

When,  in  the  later  stages  of  the  battle,  he  was  opposed  to 
dreadnoughts,  it  would  perhaps  have  been  wiser  to  maintain  a 
range  of  from  18,000  to  20,000  yards,  but  the  situation  was  com- 
plicated by  the  necessity  of  holding  the  enemy  and  leading  him 
to  the  northward,  and  it  is  not  possible  to  say  with  any  confidence 
that  he  could  have  done  this  if  he  had  held  off  at  a  distance  as 
great  as  prudence  might  have  suggested.  Circumstances  placed 
him  in  a  position  where  it  seemed  to  him  desirable  to  forget  the 
distinction  between  his  ships  and  battleships,  and  this  is  exactly 
what  he  did. 

Broadly  speaking,  it  must  be  said  that  Beatty^s  course  through- 
out the  day  was,  to  quote  the  favorite  expression  of  British 
writers  on  naval  matters,  "in  keeping  with  the  best  traditions  of 
the  service."  And  while  it  was  bold  and  dashing,  it  was  entirely 
free  from  the  rashness  which  the  British  public  has  been  a  little 
inclined  to  attribute  to  him  since  the  Dogger  Bank  engagement. 

The  only  further  criticism  of  the  conduct  of  the  battle  is  that 
which  insists  that  the  German  fleet  should  not  have  been  allowed 
to  escape.  And  here  it  is  difficult  to  find  an  explanation  which  is 
at  the  same  time  an  excuse.  Of  the  situation  at  9  p.  m.  Admiral 
Jellicoe  writes  that  he  had  maneuvered  into  a  very  advantageous 
position,  in  which  his  fleet  was  interposed  betiveen  the  German 
fleet  and  the  German  base.  He  then  goes  on  to  say  that  the 
threat  of  destroyer  attack  during  the  rapidly  approaching  dark- 
ness made  it  necessary  to  dispose  the  fleet  with  a  view  to  its 


safety,  while  providing  for  a  renewal  of  the  action  at  daylight. 
Accordingly,  he  "maneuvered  so  as  to  remain  between  the  Ger- 
mans and  their  base,  placing  flotillas  of  destroyers  where  they 
(jould  protect  the  fleet  and  attack  the  heavy  German  ships." 

Admiral  Beatty  reported  that  he  did  not  consider  it  desirable 
or  proper  to  engage  the  German  battle  fleet  during  the  dark 
hours,  as  the  strategical  position  made  it  appear  certain  he  could 
locate  them  at  daylight  under  most  favorable  circumstances. 

Here,  then,  is  the  situation  between  nine  and  ten  o'clock  at 
night,  when  the  approach  of  darkness  made  it  seem  desirable  to 
call  a  halt  for  the  night — ^a  huge  fleet,  of  more  than  thirty  capital 
ships,  was  interposed  between  the  Germans  and  their  base.  The 
general  position  of  the  Germans  was  known,  and  destroyers,  of 
which  the  British  had  at  least  seventy-five  available,  were  so 
disposed  as  to  keep  in  touch  with  the  Germans  and  attack  them 
during  the  night.  The  German  fleet  was  slower  than  the  British 
fleet  by  several  knots,  and  if  the  statements  by  Jellicoe  and 
Beatty  of  the  damage  done  are  even  approximately  true,  Von 
Hipper  and  Von  Scheer  must  have  been  embarrassed  by  the 
necessity  of  caring  for  a  large  number  of  badly  crippled  ships. 
The  night  is  short  in  that  high  latitude — not  over  five  hours 
at  the  maximum. 

And  this  is  the  report  of  what  happened  at  daylight: 

"At  daylight  on  the  first  of  June  the  battle  fleet,  being  south- 
ward of  Horn  Reef,  turned  northward  in  search  of  the  enemy 
vessels,  and  for  the  purpose  of  collecting  our  own  cruisers  and 
torpedo-boat  destroyers.  The  visibility  early  on  the  first  of 
June  was  three  to  four  miles  less  than  on  May  31,  and  the  torpedo- 
boat  destroyers,  being  out  of  visual  touch,  did  not  rejoin  the  fleet 
until  9  a.  m.  The  British  fleet  remained  in  the  proximity  of  the 
battle  field  and  near  the  line  of  approach  to  German  ports  until 
11  a.  m.,  in  spite  of  the  disadvantages  of  long  distances  from 
fleet  bases  and  the  danger  incurred  in  waters  adjacent  to  the 
enemy's  coasts  from  submarines  and  torpedo  craft. 

"The  enemy,  however,  made  no  sign,  and  I  was  reluctantly 
compelled  to  the  conclusion  that  the  High  Sea  Fleet  had  returned 
into  port.    Subsequent  events  proved  this  assumption  to  have 

102  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

been  correct.  Our  position  must  have  been  known  to  the  enemy, 
as,  at  4  a.  m.,  the  fleet  engaged  a  Zeppelin  about  Ave  minutes, 
during  which  time  she  had  ample  opportunity  to  note  and  subse- 
quently report  the  position  and  course  of  the  British  fleet." 

Here  is  the  mystery  of  the  Battle  of  Horn  Reef,  and  here  we 
may  place  our  finger  on  the  point  at  which  the  explanation  liea 
(if  we  could  only  make  out  what  the  explanation  is)  of  the  rea- 
son why  this  battle  cannot  take  rank,  either  in  its  conduct  or  i» 
its  results,  with  the  greatest  naval  battles  of  history — with  Tra* 
falgar  and  the  Nile,  to  speak  only  of  English  history.  At  is  an 
unfinished  battle ;  inconclusive,  indecisive.  And  in  this  respect  it 
cannot  be  changed  by  later  news  of  greater  losses  than  are  noW 
known.  When  Jellicoe,  with  a  force  materially  superior  to  that 
commanded  by  Von  Scheer  and  with  higher  speed,  had  inter- 
posed between  the  latter  and  his  base,  it  would  seem  that  there 
should  have  been  no  escape  for  the  German  fleet  from  absolute 
destruction.  It  should  have  been  "played''  during  the  night,  and 
either  held  or  driven  northward.  How  it  could  work  around  the 
flank  of  the  British  fleet  and  be  out  of  sight  at  dawn  is  impossible 
of  comprehension  even  when  we  have  made  due  allowance  for  low 
visibility.  And  its  disappearance  was  complete.  The  only  Ger- 
man force  that  was  seen  was  a  lone  Zeppelin,  which  was  engaged 
for  five  minutes.  The  mystery  is  increased  by  Jellicoe's  state- 
ment that  at  daylight  he  "turned  northward  in  search  of  the 
enemy's  vessels." 

His  story  ends  with  something  in  the  nature  of  a  reproach  for 
the  Germans  because  they  did  not  return,  although  "our  position 
must  have  been  known  to  them." 

Let  us  consider  what  the  situation  actually  was  at  daylight. 
The  German  fleet,  as  a  whole,  had  a  maximum  speed  of  perhaps 
18  knots  when  fresh  from  port,  and  with  every  ship  in  perfect 
condition.  According  to  the  English  account  it  had  suffered  very 
severely,  many  of  its  units  being  badly  crippled.  It  is  incon' 
ceivable  that  it  was  in  a  condition  when  Jellicoe  lost  touch  with 
it  at  ten  oclock  at  night  to  make  anything  like  its  maximum 
speed  without  deserting  these  cripples.  Let  us  suppose,  how- 
ever, that  it  could  and  did  make  18  knots  in  some  direction  be- 



Qrand  Fleet  a  6  P.M. 

Von  Hipper  ai   beginning  of  BatUe  — ►/d 

Beatiy  b\  b«><^innlng  of  BatUe->d 

/     ! 

y  ^German  f  l«<»M 
^ovinq  to  3oulhtiwil 
nd  Wntvtard  in  s«fln| 

Known poaiVion  of  German  Fleet 
at  10  PM.  May  31st      ^ 


.  '  pvtrf  this  aroa 
10  PM.  May  3  lit.  to 
daylifjM  Jun««  Ut 
__  b  hours  at 
is        Z' 12  knots 


within    ~TZ. 


littlp  Fl5h«^ 


&riti«h  Fleet  to  Southward 
10  P.  M.May  3 1 3t 


at  doy\(<jht  - 
:_  June   I  at       7::: 

6  houra 
•t  18  knots 

XiCM's  Horn  R««f4 


--V-*  B*atty's 




Movement  of  Forces 
10  P. M.  May  Slst  to  4  A.M.  June  1st. 


Track  of  British  BattW  Fleot 


"  "  "      Cruisers 

••    Enemy's  Ships  ,.  ,^^,  »,,,...,•,  .J-,. 

NOTE  '■  British  movements  are  from   JeHtcoe's  otficiat  Feport 
from.  3:30  P.M.  May  3l5l.  to  Dayli<)ht.  June  1st, 
German  movements  are  irom  best   information  obtain^le. 
up  to  10  P.M.  May  3l3t..and  probable   movements    to 



Probable  Mioe 


Submarine    Area 




104  THE   STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

tween  10  p.  m.  and  4  a.  m.  It  would  run  in  that  time  108  miles. 
If,  therefore,  we  draw  a  circle  around  the  point  at  which  it  was 
known  to  have  been  at  ten  o'clock,  with  108  miles  as  a  radius,  we 
shall  have  a  circle  beyond  which  it  cannot  have  passed  at  4  a.  m. 
(Plate  IX). 

If  we  assume  a  lower  limit  for  its  speed,  say  12  knots,  we  may 
draw  another  circle  with  72  miles  as  a  radius,  and  say  that  in  all 
probability  the  fleet  has  passed  beyond  this  circle,  in  some  direc- 
tion, by  4  a.  m.  We  have  now  narrowed  the  space  within  which 
the  German  fleet  may  be  at  4  a.  m.  of  June  1, 1916,  to  the  narrow 
area  between  our  two  circles. 

But  we  know  that  the  fleet,  if  it  is  in  reality  badly  crippled, 
will  be  under  the  necessity  of  making  its  way  back  to  a  base  at 
once,  and  that  the  detour  which  it  makes  to  avoid  the  British 
fleet  will  accordingly  be  as  slight  as  possible.  It  certainly  will 
not  attempt  to  reach  Helgoland  by  running  north  or  east.  It 
will  doubtless  start  off  toward  the  west  or  southwest  and  swing 
around  to  the  south  and  southeast  as  soon  as  Von  Scheer  feels 
confident  of  having  cleared  the  western  flank  of  the  British  fleet. 
We  may  then  draw  two  bounding  lines  from  the  point  which  the 
Germans  are  known  to  have  occupied  at  ten  o^clock,  and  feel 
reasonably  sure  that  four  o'clock  will  find  them  between  these 
lines.  In  other  words,  Jellicoe  knew  with  almost  mathematical 
certainty  that  at  four  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  June  1, 1916,  the 
German  fleet  was  within  the  area  A,  B,  C,  D,  Plate  IX.  His  own 
more  powerful  fleet  was  at  E  and  F,  still  between  the  Germans 
and  their  base,  with  an  excess  of  speed  of  at  least  three  knots, 
and  probably  much  more  than  this.  He  searched  to  the  north, 
and  not  finding  them  there,  "was  reluctantly  compelled  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  High  Sea  Fleet  had  returned  into  port."  He 
accordingly  returned  to  port  himself. 


If  it  is  true  that  the  British  blundered  in  allowing  the  Germans 
to  escape  from  a  trap  from  which  escape  should  have  been  im- 
possible, it  is  equally  true  that  the  Germans  blundered  in  allow- 



'   German 
/^    Batt  le 



.-''^  British 
Battle  Cruisers 


x    ' 

..•815  PM 

1^     \ 
\     N 
\     \ 

Approximate  Track  of  British  Battle  Fleet .—  \     \^q:Q0P.M 

«  !•      •<         II  11     Cruisers  — ^-^C^ 

••  «      "    Enemy  Ships / 


Vori  Scheer 

9:24  PM. 

Movements  of  Jellicoes  Forces-3:30  P.M. to  9:30  RM.  I1a>3lst. 

(as  shown  in  Jellicoe's  Official  Report)  ■ 
Note:  The  movements  of  the  German  Forces  here  shown  correspond  nearly, 
but  not  exactly,  with  the  Information  on  which  plates3ZL  and "SII  are  based. 




«=>  c=>  cz>  c=> 






Beatty        Q 

^         If  VonScheer  had  refused 

his  f  look,  as  here  indicated, 

the  cap  would   have  been 

avoided,  and  the  parallel  f  ight 

would  have  been  continued  with 

the  whole  German  fleet-   opposed 

to  Beatty's   six  battle  cruisers. 

The  British  battleships  would  not 
have  reached  fighting  range  be- 
fore dark,  and  could  not  have 
interposed  between  the  Germans 
QY\cX   their   base. 




To  Heligoland 
160  Miles 

What  Von  Scheer  Should  Have  Done 

When  British  Battleship  Fleet  was  Sighted 

NOTE:  Compare  this  with 
Plates  301  and  5111. 



ing  themselves  to  be  caught  in  such  a  trap.  In  the  early  part  of 
the  battle  the  German  tactics  were  all  that  they  should  have  been.: 
In  turning  south,  when  Beatty's  force  was  sighted,  Von  Hipper 
was  right  from  every  point  of  view,  for  he  was  closing  with 
Von  Scheer  while  drawing  Beatty  away  from  Jellicoe.  He  was 
equally  sound  a  little  later  when  he  turned  north,  for  he  did  not 
turn  until  he  had  been  joined  by  Von  Scheer.  He  was  still  sound 
when  at  six  o'clock  he  turned  east,  refusing  to  be  capped,  for 
there  was  as  yet  no  threat  of  any  important  increase  in  the  force 
to  which  he  was  opposed.  His  mistake — or  that  of  his  superior, 
Von  Scheer — came  when  the  British  battleships  were  sighted  to 
the  northeastward,  heading  down  across  his  course.  He  knew,  oir 
should  have  known,  that  he  was  now  opposed  by  a  force  over- 
whelmingly superior  to  his  own  and  with  considerably  higher 
speed ;  and  yet  he  not  only  did  not  attempt  to  withdraw,  but  held 
his  course  and  allowed  himself  to  be  capped,  thus  deliberately 
accepting  battle  with  a  greatly  superior  force  and  with  conditions 
the  most  unfavorable  that  could  have  been  devised.  That  he  suf- 
fered much  at  this  point,  as  he  undoubtedly  did,  was  the  result 
of  his  own  bad  tactics.  That  he  suffered  less  than  he  deserved 
was  the  result  of  the  equally  bad  tactics  on  the  part  of  his  op- 

As  soon  as  the  British  battleships  were  seen  approaching  the 
German  fleet  should  have  turned  south  and  proceeded  at  full 
speed  (Plate  X),  not  necessarily  with  intent  to  refuse  battle  per- 
manently. But  with  intent  to  refuse  it  until  conditions  could  be 
made  more  favorable  than  they  were  at  this  time.  There  would 
have  been  no  difficulty  about  reproducing  on  a  larger  scale  the 
parallel  fight  which  had  marked  the  earlier  phases  of  the  battle ; 
and  with  night  coming  on  and  the  weather  thickening,  this  would 
have  reduced  the  British  advantage  to  a  minimum.  This  plan 
would,  moreover,  have  led  the  British  straight  toward  the  mine 
and  submarine  area  of  the  Helgoland  Bight;  or,  if  they  refused 
to  be  so  led,  would  have  made  it  necessary  for  them  to  abandon 
the  fight. 

It  is  true,  of  course,  that  they  did  abandon  the  fight  in  spite 
of  the  great  advantage  which  the  German  tactics  gave  them, 


but  it  is  equally  true  that  the  German  admiral  had  no  reason 
to  hope  for  anything  so  amazingly  fortunate  for  his  reputation 
as  a  tactician. 



THE  night  of  June  7,  1916,  a  storm  raged  along  the  Scottish 
shore.  There  was  wind,  rain,  and  high  seas.  Toward  dusk  a 
British  cruiser  approached  a  point  on  the  extreme  northerly  end 
of  the  coast  and  took  aboard  Earl  Kitchener,  Secretary  of  State 
for  War,  and  his  staff.  Among  those  with  him  were  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Oswald  Arthur  Fitzgerald,  his  military  secretary ;  Brig- 
adier General  Arthur  Ellershaw,  one  of  the  war  secretary's  ad- 
visers; Sir  Hay  Frederick  Donaldson,  munitions  expert,  and 
Hugh  James  O'Beime,  former  counselor  at  the  British  embassy 
in  Petrograd  and  for  some  time  secretary  of  the  embassy  in 

The  cruiser,  which  was  the  Hampshire,  of  an  old  class,  put 
to  sea  and  headed  for  Archangel,  whence  Lord  Kitchener  was  to 
travel  to  Petrograd  for  a  war  council  with  the  czar  and  his  gen- 
erals. About  eight  o'clock,  only  an  hour  after  the  party  em- 
barked, a  mine  or  torpedo  struck  the  Hampshire  when  she  was 
two  miles  from  land  between  Merwick  Head  and  Borough  Brisay, 
west  of  the  Orkney  Islands.  It  is  supposed  that  the  cruiser's 
magazine  blew  up.  Persons  on  shore  saw  a  fire  break  out  amid- 
ships, and  many  craft  went  to  her  assistance,  although  a  north- 
west gale  was  blowing  and  the  sea  was  rough. 

Four  boats  got  away  from  the  Hampshire ^  all  of  which  were 
swamped.  According  to  one  report  Lord  Kitchener  and  his  staff 
were  lost  after  leaving  the  cruiser,  but  a  survivor  said  that  he 
was  last  seen  on  the  bridge  with  Captain  Herbert  J.  Savill,  her 
commander.  According  to  this  man  Kitchener  had  on  a  rain- 
coat and  held  a  walking  stick  in  his  hand.    He  said  that  the  two 


men  calmly  watched  preparations  for  departure  and  saw  at  least 
two  lifeboats  smashed  against  the  ship's  side. 

Twenty  minutes  after  being  torpedoed  the  Hampshire  sank, 
with  a  loss  of  300  lives. 

On  July  9,  1916,  two  days  after  the  Hampshire  went  down, 
eleven  men  of  the  cruiser  reached  the  Orkneys,  after  forty-eight 
hours  buffeting  by  the  waves  upon  a  raft.  The  body  of  Colonel 
Fitzgerald  was  washed  ashore  the  same  day  of  the  sinking,  but 
the  sea  did  not  give  up  Kitchener  or  any  of  the  other  members 
of  his  staff. 

The  Italian  admiralty  made  known  June  9,  1916,  that  the 
transport  Principe  Umberto  had  fallen  victim  to  a  submarine  in 
the  Adriatic  with  a  large  loss  of  life.  Estimates  of  the  dead  ran 
from  400  to  500. 

King  George  and  Queen  Mary  attended  a  memorial  service  at 
St.  Paul's  in  honor  of  Kitchener  on  June  13,  1916,  when  many  of 
the  most  prominent  officials  and  citizens  of  the  realm  were  pres- 
ent. They  had  a  large  military  escort  to  and  from  the  cathedral 
in  respect  to  the  dead  war  minister.  Other  services  were  held  at 
Canterbury  and  in  many  cities  through  the  kingdom. 

On  the  night  of  June  18,  1916,  a  squadron  of  Russian  sub- 
marines, destroyers  and  torpedo  boats  surprised  a  German  con- 
voy of  merchant  vessels  at  a  point  southeast  of  Stockholm  and 
not  far  from  Swedish  waters.  Owing  to  the  heavy  losses  of 
German  shipping  in  the  Baltic  practically  all  Teuton  ships  in  that 
sea  traveled  under  escort  only,  and  there  was  a  dozen  or  more 
vessels  in  the  convoy.  An  engagement  took  place  lasting  forty- 
five  minutes,  during  which  the  Russians  sank  the  auxiliary 
cruiser  Herzmann,  capturing  her  crew  and  two  other  craft,  one 
of  which  was  believed  to  have  been  a  destroyer.  In  the  confusion 
all  of  the  merchant  ships  reached  the  Swedish  coast  and  other  de- 
stroyers and  armed  trawlers  accompanying  them  made  good  their 
escape.  Berlin  admitted  the  loss,  adding  that  the  Herzmann's 
commander  and  most  of  her  crew  were  saved. 

During  the  night  of  June  16,  1916,  the  British  destroyer  Eden 
collided  with  the  transport  France  in  the  English  Channel  and 
sank.    Thirty-one  men  and  officers  escaped. 

110  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  German  submarine  U-35,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  von 
Arnauld,  put  into  Cartagena,  Spain,  June  21,  1916,  after  a  1,500 
mile  run  from  Pola  with  a  personal  letter  to  King  Alfonso,  signed 
by  Kaiser  Wilhelm.  The  missive  bore  thanks  for  the  treatment 
of  German  refugees  from  the  Kameruns  who  had  been  interned 
in  Spain,  and  the  submarine  also  brought  hospital  supplies  for  the 
fugitives.  Its  arrival  made  a  strong  impression  on  the  Spanish 
public  and  was  taken  as  a  new  sign  of  Germany's  power.  No 
such  trip  ever  had  been  made  before  for  such  a  purpose.  It  was 
a  precedent  in  the  communication  of  kings. 

The  British  steamship  Brussels,  carrying  freight  and  a  number 
of  passengers,  most  of  whom  were  Belgian  refugees  bound  from 
Rotterdam  to  Tillbury,  a  London  suburb,  was  captured  in  the 
channel  by  German  destroyers  and  taken  to  Zeebrugge,  Belgium 
on  the  night  of  June  23,  1916.  The  incident  proved  that  German 
warcraft  were  again  far  afield.  It  was  said  that  the  capture  had 
been  made  by  means  of  previous  information  as  to  the  time  of 
the  Brussels  sailing  and  with  the  aid  of  a  spy.  Her  course  lay 
about  forty  miles  north  of  Zeebrugge,  and  a  suspected  passenger 
was  seen  to  wave  a  lantern  several  times  before  the  destroyers 
came  up. 

Captain  Fryatt  attempted  to  ram  the  nearest  vessel  and 
escape,  but  the  effort  failed  and  he  was  arrested  and  charged 
with  piracy.  Germany  had  announced  early  in  the  war  that  she 
would  consider  any  merchant  captain  who  made  a  hostile  move, 
even  in  defense  of  his  vessel,  as  a  f ranc-tireur. 

Loss  of  the  Italian  auxiliary  cruiser  Citta  di  Messina,  3,495 
tons,  and  the  French  destroyer  Fourche  was  announced  by  Paris 
June  25,  1916.  The  Messina  was  carrying  troops  across  the 
Strait  of  Otranto  when  a  submarine  torpedoed  her.  The  Fourche, 
serving  as  a  convoy,  gave  pursuit  without  result,  then  turned 
back  to  save  such  survivors  as  she  could.  Within  a  few  minutes 
she  was  struck  by  a  second  torpedo  and  sunk.  All  on  board  the 
two  vessels,  probably  300  men,  were  drowned. 

The  Austrians  lost  two  transports  in  the  harbor  of  Durazzo, 
June  26,  1916,  when  Italian  submarines  succeeded  in  passing  the 
forts  and  inflicting  a  heavy  blow.    Both  ships  had  troops,  arms 

Earl  Kitchener 

iiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiti Ill mil iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,= 


and  ammunition  aboard,  according  to  a  Rome  report.  The  cas- 
ualties were  unknown. 

Petrograd  announced  that  Russian  torpedo  craft  intercepted 
a  large  convoy  of  Turkish  sailing  vessels  in  the  Black  Sea  on 
June  29,  1916,  and  destroyed  fifty-four  ships.  The  attack  took 
place  off  the  Anatolian  coast,  and  several  hundred  men  were 
believed  to  have  been  drowned.  If  the  number  of  ships  sunk  was 
correct  it  established  a  record  for  the  war. 

The  former  German  warship  Goeben,  renamed  the  Sultan 
Selim,  shelled  Tournose,  a  Russian  Black  Sea  port,  on  July  3, 
1916,  and  did  considerable  damage.  One  steamship  in  the  harbor 
went  down  as  a  result  of  shell  fire  and  large  oil  works  near  the 
city  broke  into  flames.  The  Breslau,  called  the  Midullu  by  the 
Turks,  bombarded  Scotchy,  a  near-by  port,  about  the  same  time. 
Several  fires  started  in  the  latter  city  and  there  were  some  casu- 
alties at  both  points. 

A  second  Russian  hospital  ship,  the  Vperiode,  was  torpedoed 
in  the  Black  Sea,  July  9, 1916,  with  a  loss  of  seven  lives.  She  was 
a  ship  of  850  tons,  having  accommodations  for  about  120 
wounded.  Like  the  Portugal,  sunk  by  a  submarine  some  weeks 
before  the  Vperiode  was  plainly  marked  with  the  usual  Red  Cross 
emblem.  The  attack  came  in  daylight  and  was  accepted  by  the 
Russians  as  having  been  deliberately  made,  which  once  more 
aroused  the  indignation  of  the  Russian  people. 

Berlin  announced  July  7,  1916,  that  the  British  steamer  Les- 
tris,  outward  bound  from  Liverpool  had  been  captured  near  the 
British  East  Coast  and  taken  to  a  German  port.  This  second 
capture  in  the  channel  within  a  few  days  caused  considerable 
criticism  in  England. 

As  dawn  was  breaking  on  July  10,  1916,  a  submarine  came 
alongside  a  tug  in  Hampton  Roads  and  asked  for  a  pilot.  The 
pilot  went  aboard  and  found  himself  on  the  subsea  freighter 
Deutschland,  first  merchant  submarine  to  be  built  and  the  first 
to  make  a  voyage.  She  came  from  Bremerhaven,  a  distance  of 
4,000  miles,  in  sixteen  days.  Reports  had  been  current  since  the 
U-35  made  her  trip  to  Cartagena  that  the  kaiser  would  send  a 
message  to  President  Wilson  by  an  undersea  boat.   The  American 

H— War  St.  5 

112  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

public  scouted  the  idea  as  being  impossible  of  accomplishment, 
but  the  report  persisted,  and  cities  along  the  Atlantic  Coast  line 
had  been  on  the  watch  for  several  days.  The  Deutschland 
eventually  turned  into  Hampton  Roads,  piloted  by  a  waiting  tug, 
and  tied  up  at  a  Baltimore  dock. 

The  submarine,  which  was  the  largest  ever  seen  in  American 
waters,  became  a  seven  days'  wonder.  Captain  Paul  Koenig  and 
his  twenty-nine  men  and  officers  told  some  interesting  stories  of 
their  trip  across  the  ocean.  It  was  said  that  the  Deutschland 
could  remain  submerged  for  four  days.  When  they  got  into  the 
English  Channel  there  was  a  cordon  of  warships  barring  exit 
to  the  Atlantic  that  made  them  extremely  cautious.  So  Captain 
Koenig  let  his  vessel  lay  on  the  bottom  of  the  channel  for  a  day 
and  a  night  while  the  men  enjoyed  themselves  with  a  phonograph 
and  rousing  German  songs.  When  their  enemies  thinned  out  to 
some  extent  the  submarine  started  again  on  her  way  and  headed 
directly  for  Baltimore,  which  she  reached  without  special  in- 

The  Deutschland  immediately  received  the  name  of  supersub- 
marine.  Some  thousand  tons  of  dyes  and  other  valuable  products 
filled  her  hold.  They  were  reported  to  be  worth  $1,000,000.  The 
vessel  was  able  to  make  twelve  knots  an  hour  on  the  surface  and 
about  seven  knots  when  submerged.  She  traveled  most  of  the  way 
across  on  the  surface,  being  under  water  about  one-third  of  the 
time.  In  addition  to  her  valuable  cargo,  she  brought  a  special 
message  from  Kaiser  Wilhelm  to  the  president. 

No  other  submarine,  so  far  as  known,  had  made  a  trip  of  such 
distance  as  the  Deutschland  up  to  that  time.  Longer  voyages 
have  been  accredited  to  several  British  submarines,  but  they 
were  either  made  with  a  convoy  or  broken  by  stops  enroute. 
Soon  after  the  beginning  of  the  war,  several  Australian  sub- 
marines journeyed  from  their  far-away  home  ports  to  the  Dar- 
danelles, traveling  13,000  miles.  They  called  at  various  points  in 
the  two  Americas.  Submarines  built  in  America  and  assembled 
in  Canada  proceeded  from  Newfoundland  to  Liverpool  before  the 
Deutschland  crossed  the  Atlantic,  but  they  had  another  ship  as 


The  Sultan  Selim  and  the  Midullu  clashed  with  Russian  ships 
in  the  Black  Sea,  July  11,  1916,  sinking  four  merchant  vessels. 
They  also  bombarded  harbor  works  on  the  Caucasian  Coast 
near  Puab.  Both  attacking  vessels  made  their  escape  without 

Vienna  reported  on  the  same  day  the  sinking  of  five  British 
patrol  boats  in  the  Otranto  Road,  between  Italy  and  Albania,  by 
the  cruiser  Novara,    Only  nine  men  were  saved. 

Seaham  Harbor,  a  small  coal  port  near  Sunderland,  on  the 
British  Channel  coast,  was  shelled  by  a  submarine  the  night  of 
July  11,  1916.  Thirty  rounds  of  shrapnel  started  several  fires 
and  caused  the  death  of  one  woman.  Berlin  also  claimed  the 
sinking  of  a  British  auxiliary  cruiser  of  7,000  tons  and  three 
patrol  vessels  on  the  night  of  that  day.  The  statement  was  never 
denied  in  London,  and  no  details  were  made  public  as  to  the  fate 
of  the  crews. 

The  Italian  destroyer  Impetuoso  was  torpedoed  in  the  Adri- 
atic, July  16,  1916,  with  a  loss  of  125  lives. 

In  retaliation  for  Turkish  attacks  upon  her  hospital  ships, 
Russia  announced  July  21, 1916,  that  she  would  no  longer  respect 
hospital  ships  of  the  Ottomans.  It  was  pointed  out  that  hitherto 
all  vessels  bearing  the  markings  of  the  Red  Crescent  Society, 
which  is  the  Turkish  equivalent  of  the  Red  Cross,  had  been  uni- 
formly respected.  This  declaration  by  Russia  implied  a  depth  of 
resentment  that  had  swept  through  all  of  the  allied  countries 
because  of  deeds  said  to  have  been  committed  by  the  Teutons  and 
their  Turkish  cohorts.  Some  few  reprisals  were  taken  by  France 
in  the  way  of  air  raids  in  retaliation  for  the  bombardment  of  open 
cities.  But  this  was  the  first  recorded  step  of  Russia  in  that 
direction  and  foretold  a  war  in  which  all  quarter  would  dis- 

Two  years  of  fighting  had  cost  both  sides  heavily  upon  the  sea. 
Up  to  August  1,  1915,  according  to  the  best  available  figures,  the 
allied  navies  lost  seventy-one  warships,  with  a  tonnage  of  326,- 
855.  Great  Britain  was  a  sufferer  to  the  extent  of  forty-two 
ships  in  that  first  year,  aggregating  254,494  tons,  represented  by 
eight  battleships,  three  armored  cruisers,  four  protected  cruisers, 

114  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

four  light  cruisers,  and  twenty-three  smaller  craft.  In  the  same 
period  France  lost  twelve  ships  of  28,027  tons ;  Russia  six  ships 
of  21,775  tons ;  Japan  seven  ships  of  4,801,  and  Italy  four  ships 
of  17,758  tons. 

The  losses  of  Germany,  Austria  and  Turkey  in  1915  were 
placed  at  eighty-nine  ships,  with  a  gross  tonnage  of  262,791.  Of 
these  Germany  lost  sixty-nine  vessels,  aggregating  238,904  tons, 
and  consisting  of  one  battle  cruiser,  five  armored  cruisers,  ten 
protected  cruisers  and  fifty  smaller  craft.  Austria  lost  seven 
ships  of  7,397  tons,  and  Turkey  thirteen  ships  of  16,490  tons. 

Curiously  enough  the  second  year's  figures  show  smaller  losses 
for  both  sides.  The  Allies  are  accredited  with  forty-one  ships 
having  a  tonnage  of  202,600,  and  the  Teutonic  allies  with  thirty 
three  ships,  having  a  tonnage  of  125,120.  Thirty-four  British 
ships  were  sunk,  including  two  battleships,  three  battle  cruisers, 
seven  protected  cruisers,  two  light  cruisers,  and  seventeen  smaller 
craft.  The  other  losses  were  distributed  between  her  partners 
in  arms. 

Germany's  loss  in  1916  was  twenty-six  ships — four  battle- 
ships, one  battle  cruiser,  six  protected  cruisers,  and  fifteen 
smaller  craft,  approximating  114,620  tons.  The  remaining 
casualties  on  the  German  side  were  divided  between  Austria 
and  Turkey. 

These  figures  do  not  take  into  account  several  vessels  claimed 
to  have  been  sunk  by  both  sides  but  are  predicated  upon  known 
sea  casualties.  During  the  two  years  Germany  sustained  a  re- 
duction of  18.5  of  her  strength  in  battleships  and  battle  cruisers 
of  the  dreadnought  era,  which  means  ships  built  since  1904,  and 
these  are  the  units  that  really  count  in  modern  warfare.  Britain 
is  believed  to  have  lost  6.6  of  similar  vessels.  In  light  cruisers 
her  loss  was  only  5.2  per  cent,  while  Germany  was  weakened 
nearly  45  per  cent  in  that  class  of  vessel.  The  figures  shift  for 
vessels  of  an  older  type,  showing  a  ratio  of  about  two  to  one 
against  Great  Britain.  This  is  due  largely  to  the  Dardanelles 
enterprise  and  because  in  some  instances  older  craft  were  as- 
signed to  many  dangerous  undertakings  where  the  newer  ships 
were  held  in  reserve. 


In  every  engagement  of  any  consequence  that  took  place  during 
the  first  two  years  of  war,  with  the  single  exception  of  the  fight 
off  Chile,  Britain  won  and  Germany  lost.  But  Germany  inflicted 
greater  injury  upon  her  opponent  than  any  other  nation  in  all 
the  years  of  Britain's  maritime  supremacy.  The  actual  material 
loss  to  her  enemies  was  larger  than  her  own.  Despite  this  and 
the  fact  of  Germany's  strongest  efforts  Britain  still  ruled  the 




OF   SPRING,   1916 

IN  the  preceding  volumes  we  have  followed  the  fates  of  the 
Austrian,  German,  and  Russian  armies  from  the  beginning  of 
the  war  up  to  March  1,  1916.  Although  spring  weather  does 
not  set  in  in  any  part  of  the  country  through  which  the  eastern 
front  ran  until  considerable  time  after  that  date,  events  along 
the  western  front,  where  the  Germans  were  then  hammering 
away  at  the  gates  of  Verdun,  had  shaped  themselves  in  such 
a  manner  that  they  were  bound  to  influence  the  plans  of  the 
Russian  General  Staff.  It  was,  therefore,  not  much  of  a  surprise 
that  a  Russian  offensive  should  set  in  previous  to  the  actual 
arrival  of  spring. 

As  we  shall  see  shortly,  the  first  two  weeks  or  so  of  March, 
1916,  saw  a  renewal  of  active  fighting  at  many  points  along 
the  entire  eastern  front.  But  most  of  this  was  restricted 
during  this  period  to  engagements  between  small  bodies 
of  troops  and  in  most  instances  amounted  to  little  more  than 
clashes  between  patrols.  This  preliminary  period  of  recon- 
noitering  was  followed  by  another  short  period  of  prepara- 
tory work  on  the  part  of  the  Russian  armies  consisting  of  artil- 
lery attacks  on  certain  selected  points  and  undertaken  with  a 
violence  and  an  apparently  unlimited  supply  of  guns  and  am- 
munition such  as  had  not  been  displayed  by  the  Russian  forces 
on  any  previous  occasion,  and  when,  after  these  preliminaries 



the  actual  offensive  was  launched,  the  number  of  men  employed 
was  proportionally  immense. 

Before  we  follow  in  detail  developments  along  the  eastern 
front,  it  will  be  well  for  a  fuller  understanding  of  these,  to 
visualize  again  its  location  and  to  determine  once  more  the  dis- 
tribution of  the  forces  maintaining  it  on  both  sides.  In  it»  loca- 
tion the  eastern  front  had  experienced  very  little  change  since 
the  winter  of  1915  had  set  in  and  ended  active  campaigning. 
Its  northern  end  now  rested  on  the  southwest  shore  of  the  Gulf 
of  Riga  at  a  point  about  ten  miles  northwest  of  the  Baltic  town 
of  Pukkum  on  the  Riga-Windau  railroad  and  about  thirty 
miles  northwest  of  Riga  itself.  From  these  it  ran  in  a  south- 
easterly direction  through  Schlock,  crossed  the  river  Aa  where 
it  touches  Lake  Babit,  passed  to  the  north  of  the  village  of 
Oley  and  only  about  five  miles  south  of  Riga,  and  reached  the 
Dvina  about  halfway  between  Uxkull  and  Riga.  From  there 
it  followed  more  or  less  closely  the  left  bank  of  the  Dvina, 
passed  Friedrichstadt  and  Jacobstadt  to  a  point  just  west  of 
Kalkuhnen,  a  little  town  on  the  bend  of  the  Dvina,  opposite 
Dvinsk.  There  it  continued,  generally  speaking,  in  a  southerly 
direction,  at  some  points  with  a  slight  twist  to  the  east,  at 
others  with  a  similarly  slight  turn  to  the  west.  It  thus  passed 
just  east  of  Lake  Drisviaty,  crossed  the  Disna  River  at  Koziany, 
then  ran  through  Postavy  and  just  east  of  Lake  Narotch,  crossed 
the  Viliya  River  and  the  Vilna-Minsk  railroad  at  Smorgon,  and 
reached  the  Niemen  at  Lubcha.  From  thence  it  passed  by  the 
towns  of  Korelitchy,  Zirin,  Luchowtchy  and  entered  the  Pripet 
Marshes  at  Lipsk.  About  ten  miles  south  of  the  latter  town 
the  line  crossed  the  Oginsky  Canal  and  followed  along  its  west 
bank  through  the  town  of  Teletshany  to  about  the  point  where 
the  canal  joins  the  Jasiolda  River.  From  that  point  the  Germans 
still  maintained  their  salient  that  swings  about  five  miles  to 
the  east  of  the  city  of  Pinsk. 

Up  to  just  south  of  the  Pinsk  salient,  where  the  line  crossed 
the  Pripet  River,  it  was  held,  for  the  Central  Powers,  almost 
exclusively  by  German  troops.  Below  that  point  its  defense  was 
almost  entirely  in  the  hands  of  Austro-Hungarian  regiments. 

118  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Soon  after  crossing  the  Pripet  River  the  line  reached  the  Styr 
River  and  followed  its  many  turns  for  some  thirty  miles,  now 
on  its  western  bank  and  then  again  on  its  eastern  shore.  This 
river  was  crossed  between  Czartorysk  and  Kolki.  About  thirty 
miles  south  of  Kolki,  just  to  the  east  of  the  village  of  0|yka 
the  Russians  had  succeeded  in  maintaining  a  small  salient,  the 
apex  of  which  was  directed  toward  their  lost  fortress  of  Lutsk 
almost  twenty  miles  to  the  west,  while  the  southern  side  passed 
very  close  to,  that  other  fortress,  Dubno,  even  though  it  ran 
still  some  distance  to  the  east  of  it.  Crossing  then  the  Lemberg- 
Rovno  railroad,  the  line  ran  along  both  banks  of  the  Sokal  River 
to  Ikva  and  crossed  the  Galician  border  near  Novo  Alexinez. 

A  short  distance  south  of  the  border,  about  twenty  miles,  it 
crossed  the  Lemberg-Tarnopol  railroad,  at  Jesierne,  a  little  town 
about  sixty  miles  east  of  Lemberg  and  less  than  twenty  miles 
west  of  Tamopol.  Ten  miles  further  south  the  Strypa  River  was 
crossed  and  followed  within  a  mile  or  so  along  its  west  bank  for 
a  distance  of  some  twenty  miles,  passing  west  of  Burkanow 
and  Buczacz.  Just  south  of  the  latter  town  the  line  overspread 
both  banks  of  the  Strypa  up  to  its  junction  with  the  Dniester, 
thence  along  the  banks  of  this  stream  for  almost  twenty  miles 
to  a  point  about  ten  miles  west  of  the  junction  of  the  Sereth 
River  with  the  Dniester.  At  that  point  the  line  took  another 
slight  turn  to  the  east,  passing  just  east  of  the  city  of  Czemowitz, 
and  crossing  at  that  point  the  river  Pruth  into  the  Austrian 
province  of  Bukowina.  Less  than  ten  miles  southeast  of  Czer- 
novitz  the  border  of  Rumania  was  reached  near  Wama  and 
thereby  the  end  of  the  line. 

As  the  crow  flies,  the  length  of  this  line,  from  the  Gulf  of 
Riga  to  the  Rumanian  border  was  six  hundred  and  twenty 
miles.  Actually,  counting  its  many  turns  and  twists  and  sa- 
lients, it  covered  more  than  seven  hundred  and  fifty  miles. 
From  the  Gulf  to  the  Pripet  River  the  eastern  front  was  held 
by  German  troops  with  one  single  exception. 

From  there  an  Austrian  army  corps  with  only  a  very  slight 
admixture  of  German  troops  completed  the  front  of  the  Central 
Empires  down  to  the  Bessarabian  border. 



^S  A  L7  /  Cr. 


A  U'S  T.R  I  Ki  au  N  C?>^^ 

-;X/y;4r/,'iH!\V\  ^<)^   ' 

sc<q^L.E  OF  r^iLEs 
o      20  50  100 

w<iB»      FRONTIERS 
■■■■■     BATTLE    LINE 
AUGUST    15.  1916 
•  •••    LINE  A5  IT  WAS  BEFORE 



120  THE   STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

From  the  Gulf  of  Riga  down  to  the  Oginski  Canal  five  distinct 
German  army  corps  were  facing  the  Russians.  The  most  north- 
ern of  these  covered  the  Gulf  section  and  the  Dvina  front  down 
to  a  point  near  Friedrichstadt.  The  second  group  was  lined  up 
from  that  point  on  down  to  somewhere  just  south  of  Lake  Dris- 
viaty,  the  third  from  Lake  Drisviaty  to  the  Viliya  River,  the 
fourth  from  the  Viliya  River  to  the  Niemen  River,  and  the  fifth 
from  the  Niemen  to  the  Oginski  Canal.  Generals  von  Scholz, 
von  Eichhorn,  von  Fabeck,  and  von  Woyrsch,  were  in  command 
of  these  difficult  units,  with  Field  Marshal  von  Hindenburg  in 
supreme  command.  The  sector  south  of  the  Oginski  Canal  and 
up  to  the  Pripet  River  was  held  by  another  army  group  under 
the  command  of  Field  Marshal  Prince  Leopold  of  Bavaria. 

The  first  Austrian  army  corps,  forming  the  left  wing  of  the 
front  held  by  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces,  was  commanded  by 
Archduke  Joseph  Ferdinand.  Later  on,  as  the  rapid  success  of 
the  Russian  offensive  made  it  necessary  for  German  troops  to 
come  to  the  assistance  of  their  sorely  pressed  allies.  General 
von  Linsingen  was  dispatched  from  the  north  with  reenforce- 
ments  and  assumed  supreme  command  of  this  group  of  armies 
located  in  Volhjmia.  The  command  of  the  Galician  front  was 
in  the  hands  of  the  Bavarian  general,  Count  von  Bothmer, 
while  the  forces  fighting  in  the  Bukowina  were  directed  by 
General  Pflanzer. 

On  the  Russian  side  of  the  line  General  Kuropatkin,  well 
known  from  the  Russo-Japanese  War,  was  in  command  of  the 
northern  half  of  the  front.  Of  course,  there  were  a  number  of 
other  generals  under  him  in  charge  of  the  various  sectors  of 
this  long  line.  But  on  account  of  the  comparative  inactivity 
which  was  maintained  most  of  the  time  along  this  line,  their 
niames  did  not  figure  largely.  South  of  the  Pripet  Marshes 
General  Alexeieff  was  in  supreme  command.  Under  him  were 
General  Brussilov  and  General  Kaledin  in  Volhjmia,  General 
Sakharoff  in  Galicia,  and  the  Cossack  General  Lechitsky  in  the 
Bukowina  along  the  Dniester.  Here,  too,  of  course  were  a  num- 
ber of  other  commanders  who,  however,  came  into  prominence 
only  occasionally. 


An  intimate  view  of  some  of  the  Russian  generals  and  their 
troops  is  presented  in  the  following  description  from  the  pen 
of  the  official  English  press  representative : 

'The  head  of  the  higher  command,  General  Alexeieff,  early 
in  the  Galician  campaign  clearly  proved,  as  chief  of  staff  to 
General  Ivanoff ,  his  extraordinary  capacity  to  direct  an  advance. 
As  commander  on  the  Warsaw  front  he  made  it  evident  that 
he  could,  with  an  army  short  of  all  material  things,  hold  until 
the  last  moment  an  enemy  equipped  with  everything,  and  then 
escape  the  enemy's  clutches.  At  Vilna  he  showed  his  technique 
by  again  eluding  the  enemy. 

"General  Kaledin,  the  commander  of  the  army  on  the  Koyel 
front,  is  relatively  a  new  figure  in  important  operations.  At 
the  beginning  of  the  war,  as  commander  of  a  cavalry  division,  his 
universal  competence  in  all  operations  committed  to  his  care 
brought  him  rapid  promotion,  until  now  he  is  the  head  of  this 
huge  army.  Meeting  him  frequently  as  a  guest,  I  have  come 
to  feel  great  confidence  in  this  resolute,  quiet  man,  who  is  sur- 
rounded by  a  sober,  serious  staff,  each  officer  picked  for  his 
past  performance. 

"I  note  an  infinite  improvement  since  last  year  in  the  army. 
In  the  first  place  I  see  no  troops  without  rifles,  and  there  is  no 
shortage  of  ammunition  apparent.  Then  there  is  ,an  extraor- 
dinary improvement  in  the  organization  of  the  transport.  In 
spite  of  the  large  volume  of  troops  on  this  front  they  are  moving 
with  less  confusion  than  the  transport  of  single  corps  entailed 
two  years  ago.  The  compact  organization  of  munition  columns^ 
and  the  absence  of  wasted  time  have  speeded  up  communications 
fully  fifty  per  cent,  enabling  three  units  to  be  moved  as  easily 
as  two  last  year. 

**The  transport  has  been  further  improved  by  the  addition  of 
motor  vehicles.  The  staff  organization  is  incomparably  better 
than  at  the  beginning  of  the  war,  and  I  have  not  seen  a  single 
staff  on  this  front  which  is  not  entirely  competent.  The  system 
of  transporting  the  wounded  has  been  well  organized,  and  vast 
numbers  are  being  cleared  from  the  front  stations  without  con- 
fusion or  congestion. 

122  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"In  comparison  I  can  recall  the  early  Galician  days  when 
unimagined  numbers  of  wounded,  both  our  own  and  Austrian, 
flooded  Lemberg  in  a  few  days,  and  there  were  countless  casu- 
alties. In  spite  of  the  numbers  of  wounded  here  I  have  not 
seen  any  congestion,  and  I  find  all  the  clearing  stations  cleared 
within  a  few  hours  after  every  fight,  the  wounded  passing  to 
base  hospitals  and  being  evacuated  into  the  interior  of  Russia 
with  great  promptness. 

"Owing  to  the  few  good  roads  and  the  distance  from  the  rail- 
way of  much  of  the  fighting,  in  many  places  the  wounded  have 
been  obliged  to  make  trips  of  two  or  three  days  in  peasants'  carts 
before  reaching  the  railways. 

"Finally,  the  morale  of  the  army  has  reached  an  unexampled 
pitch.  In  the  hospitals  which  I  inspected  with  the  general  many 
of  the  wounded,  even  those  near  death,  called  for  news  of  the 
front,  asking  if  the  trenches  were  taken,  and  saying  they  were 
willing  to  die  if  the  Germans  were  only  beaten.  Such  sentiments 
typify  fhe  extent  to  which  this  conflict  is  now  rooted  in  the 
hearts  of  the  Russian  army  and  people." 


THE     RUSSIAN      M  AR  C  H  — -0  F  FE  N  S  I VE 
FROM     RIGA     TO     PINSK 

BEGINNING  with  March  1,  1916,  active  campaigning  was 
renewed  along  the  eastern  front.  CHmatic  conditions,  of 
course,  made  any  extensive  movements  impossible  as  yet.  But 
from  here  and  there  reports  came  of  local  attacks,  of  more  fre- 
quent clashes  between  patrols,  and  of  renewed  artillery  activity. 
Some  of  these  occurred  in  the  Bukowina,  in  Bessarabia,  and  in 
Galicia,  others  in  the  neighborhood  of  Baranovitchy,  north  of 
the  Pripet  Marshes,  and,  later,  toward  the  middle  of  March, 
1916,  fighting  took  place  at  the  northernmost  point  of  the  line, 
near  Lake  Babit. 


It  was  not  until  March  17,  1916,  however,  that  it  became  more 
apparent  what  was  the  purpose  of  the  many  encounters  between 
Russian  and  German  patrols  that  had  been  officially  reported 
with  considerable  regularity  since  the  beginning  of  March.  On 
March  17,  1916,  both  the  German  and  Austro-Hungarian  official 
statements  reported  increased  Russian  artillery  fire  all  along  the 
line.  On  the  following  day,  March  18,  1916,  the  Russians  started 
a  series  of  violent  attacks.  The  first  of  these  was  launched  in  the 
sector  south  of  Dvinsk.  This  is  the  region  covered  witk  a  number 
of  small  marshy  lakes  that  had  seen  a  great  deal  of  the  most 
desperate  fighting  in  1915.  With  great  violence  Russian  infantry 
was  thrown  against  the  German  lines  that  ran  from  Lake  Dris- 
viaty  south  to  the  town  of  Postavy;  another  attack  of  equal 
strength  developed  still  further  south  along  both  banks  of  Lake 
Narotch.  But  the  German  lines  not  only  held,  but  threw  back 
the  attacking  forces  with  heavy  losses  which,  according  to  the 
German  official  statement  of  that  day  were  claimed  to  have  num- 
bered at  Lake  Narotch  alone  more  than  9,000  in  dead. 

In  spite  of  these  heavy  losses  and  of  the  determined  German 
resistance,  the  Russians  repeated  the  attack  with  even  increased 
force  on  March  19, 1916.  At  Lake  Drisviaty,  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Postavy  and  between  Lake  Vishnieff  and  Lake  Narotch  attack 
after  attack  was  launched  with  the  greatest  abandon.  This  time 
the  Germans  not  only  repulsed  all  these  attacks,  but  promptly 
launched  a  counterattack  near  Vidzy,  a  little  country  town  on  the 
Vilna-Dvinsk  post  road,  capturing  thereby  some  300  men.  The 
German  official  statement  claimed  that  these  prisoners  belonged 
to  seven  different  Russian  regiments,  giving  thereby  an  indication 
of  the  comparatively  large  masses  of  troops  employed  on  the 
Russian  side. 

Again  on  March  30,  1916,  new  attacks  were  launched  in  the 
same  locality.  At  one  point  the  Germans  were  forced  to  with- 
draw a  narrow  salient  which  protruded  to  a  considerable  distance 
just  south  of  Lake  Narotch.  Russian  machine  guns  had  been 
placed  in  such  positions  that  they  enfiladed  the  salient  in  three 
directions  and  made  it  untenable.  The  German  line  here  was 
withdrawn  a  few  hundred  feet  toward  the  heights  of  Blisuiki. 

124  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

During  the  night  of  March  20,  1916,  especially  violent  attacks 
were  again  launched  against  the  German  lines  between  Postavy 
and  Vileity,  a  small  village  to  the  northwest  of  that  town.  There 
the  Russians  succeeded  in  gaining  a  foothold  in  the  German 
trenches.  During  the  afternoon  the  Russians  attempted  to  extend 
this  success.  With  renewed  violence  they  trained  their  guns  on 
the  German  positions.  In  order  to  throw  back  a  strong  German 
counterattack,  a  curtain  of  fire  was  laid  before  the  trenches 
stormed  earlier  in  the  day.  At  the  same  time  German  artillery 
strongly  supported  the  attack  of  their  infantry.  On  both  sides 
the  gunfire  became  so  violent  that  single  shots  could  not  be  dis- 
tinguished any  longer.  Shrapnel  exploded  without  cessation  and 
rifle  fire  became  so  rapid  that  it  sounded  hardly  less  loudly  than 
the  gunfire.  Late  in  the  afternoon  the  Germans  succeeded  in  re- 
taking the  trenches  which  they  had  lost  in  the  morning,  capturing 
at  that  time  the  Russian  victors  of  the  morning  to  the  number 
of  600. 

On  the  same  day,  March  21,  1916,  the  Russians  extended  the 
sphere  of  their  attack.  At  the  same  time  that  they  were  hammer- 
ing away  at  the  German  lines  south  of  Dvinsk  other  attacks  were 
launched  all  along  the  northern  front.  In  the  Riga  region,  near 
the  village  of  Plakanen,  as  well  as  in  the  district  south  of  Dahlen 
Island,  heavy  engagements  were  fought.  Farther  south,  be- 
tween Friedrichstadt  and  Jacobstadt,  on  the  south  bank  of  the 
Dvina  River  the  Russians  captured  a  village  and  wood  east  of 

At  many  other  points,  along  the  entire  eastern  front  from  Lake 
Narotch  south  attacks  developed.  In  most  of  these  the  Russians 
assumed  the  initiative.  But  here  and  there — ^near  Tverietch,  just 
south  of  Vidzy ;  along  Lake  Miadziol,  just  north  of  Lake  Narotch, 
and  around  Lake  Narotch  itself — ^the  Germans  attempted  a  series 
of  counterattacks  which,  however,  yielded  no  tangible  results. 
All  in  all,  the  day's  fighting  made  little  change  in  the  respective 
positions  and  the  losses  in  men  were  about  evenly  divided. 

The  violence  and  energy  with  which  the  Russian  attacks  during 
March  were  executed  may  readily  be  seen  from  reports  of  special 
correspondents,  who  were  behind  the  German  lines  at  that  pe- 


viod.  Their  collective  testimony  also  tends  to  confirm  the  German 
claims  that  very  large  Russian  forces  were  used  and  that  their 
losses  were  immense. 

**From  Riga  to  the  Rumanian  border/'  says  one  of  these  eye- 
witnesses, "thundered  the  crashing  of  guns.  .  .  .  About  sev- 
enty miles  northeast  of  Mitau,  a  chain  of  lakes  runs  through  the 
wooded,  swampy  country,  narrow,  long  bodies  of  water  follow 
the  course  of  Mjadsjolke  River,  a  natural  trench  in  a  region  that 
is  otherwise  a  very  difficult  territory  by  nature.  In  the  south  the 
chain  is  closed  by  Lake  Narotch,  a  large  secluded  body  of  water 
of  some  thirty-five  square  miles,  through  which  now  runs  the 
front.  In  the  north  of  this  chain  of  lakes,  near  the  village  of  Pos- 
tavy,  a  thundering  of  guns  commenced  on  the  morning  of  March 
18,  1916,  such  as  the  eastern  front  had  hardly  ever  heard  before. 
Russian  drum  fire!  From  out  of  the  woods,  across  the  ice  and 
snow  water  of  the  swamps,  line  after  line  came  storming  against 
the  German  trenches.  ...  On  the  same  day,  farther  south,  be- 
tween Lakes  Narotch  and  Vishnieff  another  Russian  attack  was 
launched.  .  .  .  The  losses  of  the  Russians  are  immense.  More  than 
5,000  dead  and  wounded  must  be  lying  before  our  positions  only 
about  ten  miles  wide.  During  the  night  a  lull  came.  But  with  the 
break  of  dawn  the  drum  fire  broke  out  once  more,  and  again  the 
waves  of  infantry  rolled  up  against  our  positions. .  .  .  During  the 
night  from  March  19  to  March  20, 1916,  the  drum  fire  of  the  Rus- 
sian guns  increased  to  veritable  fury.  As  if  the  entire  supply  of 
ammunition  collected  throughout  the  winter  months  were  to  be 
used  up  all  at  once,  shells  continuously  shrieked  and  howled 
through  the  darkness:  50,000  hits  were  counted  in  one  single 
sector.   .   .   .** 

Another  correspondent  writes :  "The  numbers  of  the  Russians 
are  immense.  They  have  about  ^ixty  infantry  divisions  ready. 
Their  losses  are  in  proportion  and  were  estimated  on  a  front 
of  about  ninety  miles  to  have  been  near  to  80,000  men.  For  in- 
stance, against  one  German  cavalry  brigade  there  were  thrown 
seven  regiments  with  a  very  narrow  front,  but  eight  lines  deep. 
Four  times  they  came  rushing  on  against  the  German  barbed- 
wire  obstacles  without  being  able  to  break  through,  but  losing 


126  THE    STORY   OP   THE    GREAT   WAR 

some  3,000  men  just  the  same.  ...  On  March.  24,  1916,  6,000 
Russian  shells  were  counted  in  a  small  sector  on  the  Dvinsk 

In  the  latter  sector  and  to  the  north  of  it,  heavy  fighting  had 
developed  on  March  22  and  23,  1916.  Especially  around  Jacol> 
stadt,  attack  followed  attack,  both  sides  taking  turns  in  assuming 
the  offensive.  The  Russian  attacks  were  particularly  violent 
during  the  evening  and  night  of  March  22,  1916,  and  in  some 
places  resulted  in  the  temporary  invasion  of  the  German  first- 
line  trenches.  Especially  hard  was  fighting  along  the  Jaco.bstadt- 
Mitau  railroad.  Between  Dvinsk  and  Lake  Drisviaty  a  violent 
artillery  and  rifle  duel  was  kept  up  almost  continuously,  resulting 
at  one  point,  just  below  Dvinsk  near  Shishkovo,  in  the  breaking 
up  of  a  German  attack.  South  of  the  lake,  at  the  village  of  Mint- 
siouny,  however,  a  German  attack  succeeded  and  drove  the  Rus- 
sians out  of  some  trenches  which  they  had  gained  only  the  day 
before.  Here,  too,  both  artillery  and  rifle  fire  of  great  violence 
carried  death  into  both  the  Russian  and  German  ranks.  At  Vidzy, 
a  few  miles  farther  south,  the  Russians  stormed  four  times  in 
quick  succession  against  the  German  positions.  Northwest  of 
Postavy  another  Russian  attack  failed,  the  Germans  capturing 
over  900  men  and  officers  at  that  particular  point.  On  the  other 
hand,  a  German  attack  still  farther  south  and  northwest  of  Lake 
Narotch  was  repulsed  and  the  Russians  made  slight  gains  in  the 
face  of  a  most  violent  fire.  Near  the  south  shore  of  Lake  Narotch 
a  German  attack  supported  by  asphyxiating  gas  forced  back 
the  Russians  on  a  very  narrow  front  for  a  very  short  distance. 
From  Lake  Narotch  down  to  the  Pripet  Marshes  the  Russians 
maintained  a  lively  cannonade  at  many  points  without,  however, 
making  any  attacks  in  force. 

During  March  23,  1916,  a  determined  Russian  attack  against 
the  bridgehead  at  Jacobstadt  broke  down  under  the  heavy  Ger- 
man gunfire.  During  the  night  repeated  Russian  attacks  to  the 
north  of  the  Jacobstadt-Mitau  railroad  a  surprise  attack  south- 
west of  Dvinsk  and  violent  attacks  along  the  Dvinsk- Vidzy 
sector  suffered  the  same  fate,  although  in  some  instances  the 
Russian  troops  succeeded  in  coming  right  up  to  the  German 


barbed-wire  obstacles.  Between  Lake  Narotch  and  Lake  Vish- 
nieff  the  Russians  captured  some  woods  after  driving  out  German 
forces  which  had  constructed  strong  positions  there. 

Without  cessation  the  Russian  attacks  continued  day  by  day. 
Fresh  troops  were  l^rought  up  continuously.  The  munition  sup- 
ply, which  in  the  past  had  been  one  of  the  chief  causes  of  Russian 
failure  and  disaster,  seemed  to  have  become  suddenly  inexhaust- 
ible. Not  only  was  each  attack  carefully  and  extensively  prepared 
by  the  most  violent  kind  of  artillery  fire,  but  the  latter  was  di- 
rected also  against  those  German  positions  which  at  that  time 
were  immune  from  attack  on  account  of  the  insurmountable 
natural  difficulties  brought  about  by  climatic  conditions.  For  by 
this  time  winter  began  to  break  up  and  ice  and  snow  commenced 
to  meet,  signifying  the  rapid  approach  of  the  spring  floods.  To  a 
certain  extent  these  climatic  conditions  undoubtedly  had  an  im- 
portant influence  on  Russian  plans.  Almost  along  the  entire 
northern  part  of  the  front  the  Germans  possessed  one  great 
advantage.  Their  positions  were  located  on  higher  and  drier 
ground  than  those  of  the  Russians,  whose  trenches  were  on  low 
ground,  and  would  become  next  to  untenable,  once  thaw  and 
spring  floods  would  set  in  in  earnest.  There  is  little  doubt  that 
the  great  energy  and  superb  disregard  of  human  life  which  the 
Russian  commanders  developed  throughout  the  March  offensive 
were  principally  the  result  of  their  strong  desire  to  get  their 
forces  on  better  ground  before  it  was  too  late  or  too  difficult,  and 
from  a  tactical  point  of  view  the  risks  which  they  took  at  that 
time  and  the  price  which  they  seemed  to  be  willing  to  pay  to 
achieve  their  ends  were  not  any  too  great. 

In  spite  of  the  lack  of  any  important  success  the  Russian  at- 
tacks against  the  Jacobstadt  sector  were  renewed  on  March  24, 
1916.  But  the  German  guns  had  shot  themselves  in  so  well  that 
it  availed  nothing.  Other  attacks,  attempted  to  the  southwest 
of  Dvinsk  and  at  various  points  north  of  Vidzy  suffered  the  same 
fate.  In  the  neighborhood  of  Lake  Narotch  Russian  activities  on 
that  day  were  restricted  to  artillery  fire. 

The  Germans  assumed  the  offensive  on  March  25,  1916,  on  the 
Riga-Dvinsk  sector.    Their  guns  were  trained  against  Schlock,  a 

I— War  St.  5 

128  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

small  town  on  the  south  shore  of  the  Gulf  of  Riga,  just  northwest 
of  Lake  Babit,  against  the  bridgehead  at  Uxkull,  fifteen  miles 
southeast  of  Riga  on  the  Dvina,  and  against  a  number  of  other 
positions  between  that  point  and  Jacobstadt.  A  German  attempt 
to  gain  ground  north  of  the  small  sector  of  the  Mitau-Jacobstadt 
railway,  that  was  still  in  Russian  hands,  failed  in  the  face  of  a 
devastating  Russian  cannonade.  A  German  trench  was  captured 
by  Russian  infantry  ably  supported  by  artillery  west  of  Dvinsk, 
but  neither  southwest  nor  south  of  this  fortress  were  the  Rus- 
sians able  to  register  any  success.  Northwest  of  Postavy  and  be- 
tween Lake  Narotch  and  Lake  Vishnieff  heavy  fighting  still  con- 
tinued and  in  some  places  developed  into  hand-to-hand  fighting 
between  smaller  detachments.  From  Lake  Narotch  down  to  the 
Pripet  Marshes  German  and  Russian  guns  again  raked  the 
trenches  facing  them. 

On  March  26,  1916,  the  following  day,  the  Russians  attacked 
at  many  points.  Northwest  of  Jacobstadt,  near  the  village  of 
Augustinhof,  a  most  violent  attack  brought  no  results.  North- 
west of  Postavy  the  Russians  stormed  two  trenches.  Southwest 
of  Lake  Narotch  repeated  heavy  attacks  were  repulsed  and  some 
West  Prussian  regiments  recovered  an  important  observation 
point  which  they  had  lost  a  week  before.  Over  2,100  officers  and 
men  were  captured  that  day  by  the  Germans.  Aeroplanes  of  the 
latter  also  resumed  activity  and  dropped  bombs  on  the  stations 
at  Dvinsk,  and  Vileika,  as  well  as  along  the  Baranovitchy-Minsk 

Russian  artillery  carried  death  and  destruction  into  the  Ger- 
man trenches  on  March  27,  1916,  before  Oley,  south  of  Riga, 
and  before  the  Uxkull  bridgehead.  In  the  Jacobstadt  sector,  as 
well  as  near  Postavy,  violent  engagements,  launched  now  by  the 
Germans  and  then  again  by  the  Russians,  occurred  all  day  long 
without  yielding  any  results  to  either  side.  Southwest  of  Lake 
Narotch  the  Russians  made  a  determined  attack  with  two  di- 
visions against  the  positions  captured  by  German  regiments  on 
the  previous  day,  but  were  not  able  to  dislodge  the  latter.  Fight- 
ing also  developed  now  in  the  Pripet  Marshes  and  the  territory 
immediately  adjoining.  Weather  conditions  were  rapidly  chang- 


ing  for  the  .worse  all  along"  the  eastern  front.  Thaw  set  in,  and 
all  marsh  and  lake  ground  was  flooded.  Everywhere,  not  only  in 
the  southern  region,  but  also  in  the  northern,  the  ice  on  the  rivers 
and  lakes  became  covered  with  water  and  was  getting  soft  near 
the  banks.  Throughout  the  northern  region  the  melting  of  the 
thickly  lying  snow  in  the  roads  was  making  the  movements  of 
troops  and  artillery  extraordinarily  difficult. 

As  a  result  of  these  conditions,  which  were  growing  more 
difficult  every  day,  a  decided  decrease  in  activity  became  imme- 
diately noticeable  on  both  sides.  For  quite  a  time  fighting,  of 
course,  continued  at  various  points.  But  both  the  numbers  of 
men  employed  as  well  as  the  intensity  of  their  effort  steadily 

Before  Dvinsk  and  just  south  of  the  fortress  artillery  fire 
formed  the  chief  event  on  March  28,  1916.  But  south  of  Lake 
Narotch  the  Russians  still  kept  up  their  attacks.  At  one  point, 
where  the  Germans  had  gained  a  wood  a  few  days  ago  the 
Russian  forces  attacked  seven  times  in  quick  succession  and 
thereby  recovered  the  southern  part  of  the  forest.  Along  the 
Oginski  Canal  fighting  was  conducted  at  long  range.  G^erman 
aeroplanes  again  dropped  .bombs,  this  time  on  the  stations  at 
Molodetchna  on  the  Minsk- Vilna  railroad,  as  well  as  at  Politzy 
and  Luniniets. 

Both  March  30  and  31,  1916,  were  marked  by  a  noticeable 
cessation  of  attacks  on  either  side.  Long-range  rifle  fire  and  ar- 
tillery cannonades,  however,  took  place  at  many  points  from  the 
Gulf  down  to  the  Pripet  Marshes.  German  aeroplanes  again  at- 
tacked a  number  of  stations  on  railroads  leading  out  of  Minsk 
to  western  points. 

Of  all  the  violent  fighting  which  took  place  during  the  second 
half  of  March,  1916,  along  the  northern  half  of  the  eastern  front, 
the  little  village  of  Postavy,  perhaps,  saw  more  than  any  other 
point.  The  special  correspondent  of  a  Chicago  newspaper  wit- 
nessed a  great  deal  of  this  remarkably  desperate  struggle  during 
his  stay  with  Field  Marshal  von  Hindenburg's  troops.  His  vivid 
description,  which  follows,  will  give  a  good  idea  of  the  valor 
displayed  both  by  German  and  Russian  troops,  as  well  as  of  the 

130  THE    STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

immense  losses  incurred  by  the  attackers  during  this  series  of 
battles  lasting  ten  days. 

"Despite  the  artillery,  despite  the  machine  guns  and  despite 
the  infantry  fire,  the  apparently  inexhaustible  regiments  of 
Russians  swept  on  over  the  dead,  over  the  barbed-wire  barriers 
before  the  German  line,  over  the  first  trenches  and  routed  the 
German  soldiers,  who  were  half  frozen  in  the  mud  of  their  shat- 
tered shelters.  A  terrible  hand-to-hand  conflict  followed.  Hand 
grenades  tore  down  scores  of  defenders  and  assailants*  attacks. 
The  men  fought  like  maniacs  with  spades,  bayonets,  knives  and 
clubbed  guns. 

"But  the  Russians  won  at  a  fearful  price  for  so  slight  a  gain. 
They  stopped  within  a  hundred  feet  of  victory.  It  may  have 
been  lack  of  discipline,  lack  of  officers  or  lack  of  reserves;  no 
one  knows. 

"The  Russians  seemed  helpless  in  the  German  trenches.  In- 
stead of  sweeping  on  to  the  second  lines  they  tried  to  intrench 
themselves  in  the  wrecked  German  first  line.  Immediately  Ger- 
man artillery  hurled  shells  of  the  heaviest  caliber  into  those  lines 
and  tore  them  into  fragments. 

"Then  came  the  reserves  and  by  nightfall  the  Russians  had 
again  been  driven  out. 

"Four  days  later,  suddenly  without  warning,  a  mud-colored 
wave  began  to  pour  forth  from  the  forest.  It  was  a  line  of  Rus- 
sians three  ranks  deep  containing  more  than  1,000  men.  Behind 
this  was  a  second  wave  like  the  first,  and  then  a  third. 

"The  German  artillery  tore  holes  in  the  ranks,  which  merel>' 
closed  up  again,  marched  on,  and  made  no  attempt  to  fire.  They 
marched  as  though  on  parade.  'It  was  magnificent  but  criminal !' 
said  a  German  officer. 

"When  a  fourth  line  emerged  from  the  woods  the  German 
artillery  dropped  a  curtain  of  fire  behind  it,  and  then  a  similar 
wall  of  shells  ahead  of  those  in  front.  They  then  moVed  these 
two  walls  closer  together  with  a  hail  of  shrapnel  between  them, 
while  at  the  same  time  they  cut  loose  with  the  machine  guns. 

"The  splendid  formation  of  Russians,  trapped  between  the 
walls  of  fire,  scattered  heedlessly  in  vain.   Shells  gouged  deep 


holes  in  the  dissolving  ranks.  The  air  was  filled  with  clamor  and 
frantic  shrieks  were  sometimes  heard  above  the  incessant  roar 
and  cracking  of  exploding  projectiles. 

"Defeated  men  sought  to  dig  themselves  into  the  ground  in  the 
foolish  belief  that  they  could  find  safety  there  from  this  deluge 
of  shells.  Others  raced  madly  for  the  rear  and  some  escaped  in 
this  way  as  if  by  a  miracle.  Still  others  ran  toward  the  German 
lines  only  to  be  cut  down  by  the  German  machine-gun  fire. 

"In  less  than  twenty  minutes  the  terrible  dream  was  over.  The 
attack  had  cost  the  Russians  4,000  lives,  and  yet  not  a  Russian 
soldier  had  come  within  600  yards  of  the  German  line." 

Another  important  feature  of  the  March  offensive,  especially 
in  its  early  phases,  was  the  patrol  work,  executed  on  both  sides. 
This  required  not  only  courage  of  the  highest  order,  but  also  a 
high  degree  of  intelligence  on  the  part  of  the  leader  as  well  as  of 
the  men  working  under  him.  The  results  obtained  by  patrol 
work  are,  of  course,  of  the  greatest  importance  to  the  respective 
commanding  officers,  and  many  times  the  way  in  which  such  a 
mission  is  carried  out  is  the  decisive  factor  in  bringing  success 
or  failure  to  an  important  movement.  At  the  same  time  patrol 
work  is,  of  course,  a  matter  of  chiefly  local  importance,  and  no 
matter  how  difficult  the  problem  or  how  cleverly  it  is  solved  it  is 
only  on  rare  occasions  that  the  result  reaches  the  outside  world, 
even  though  a  collection  of  detailed  reports  which  patrol  leaders 
are  able  to  make  would  form  a  story  that  would  put  to  shadow 
the  most  impossible  book  of  fiction  or  the  most  unbeliev^^ble 
adventure  film. 

The  following  two  descriptions  of  such  work,  therefore,  make 
not  oiily  a  highly  sensational  story,  but  prove  also  that  war  in 
modem  times  relies  almost  as  much  on  personal  valor  and  ini- 
tiative as  in  times  gone  by,  all  claims  to  the  contrary  notwith- 
standing, and  in  spite  of  the  wonderful  technical  progress  which 
military  science  of  our  times  shares  with  all  other  sciences. 

An  American  special  newspaper  correspondent  with  Von  Hin- 
denburg's  army  reports  the  following  occurrences  and  also  gives 
a  vivid  pen  picture  of  conditions  in  the  territory  immediately 
behind  the  front: 

132  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"In  a  forest  near  the  town  of  Lyntupy  a  patrol  of  thirteen 
Russian  spies  hid  in  an  abandoned  German  dugout  in  the  course 
of  a  night  march  southward  to  destroy  a  bridge  over  the  river 
Viliya  with  high  explosives. 

"Desperate  for  food,  they  finally  intrusted  their  safety  to  a 
Polish  forester,  ordering  him  to  bring  food.  The  forester 
promptly  gave  the  Germans  information.  The  Germans  sur- 
rounded the  dugout,  throwing  in  three  hand  grenades.  On  enter- 
ing the  dugout  they  discovered  ten  Russians  killed  by  grenades 
and  three  by  bullets. 

"The  Russian  lieutenant  had  shot  two  comrades  not  killed  by 
grenades  and  then  himself,  in  order  to  escape  execution  as  spies, 
for  the  patrol  was  not  in  uniform. 

"Another  audacity  was  performe'd  during  a  Russian  attack 
on  the  German  trenches.  From  the  darkness  came  a  voice  calling 
in  perfect  German,  What  is  the  matter  with  you?  Are  you 
soldiers?  Are  you  Germans?  Are  you  men?  Why  don't  you  get 
forward  and  attack  the  Russians?    Are  you  afraid?* 

"Bewildered  by  these  words  coming  up  to  them  direct  from 
the  nearest  wire  entanglements,  the  Germans  turned  a  search- 
light in  the  direction,  discovering  the  speaker  to  be  a  Russian 
officer  who  had  taken  his  life  in  his  hands  on  the  chance  of 
drawing  the  Germans  from  the  trenches.  His  audacity  cost  him 
his  life,  for  instantly  he  fell  before  a  volley  of  bullets. 

"The  Germans  speak  well  of  the  marksmanship  of  considerable 
bodies  of  the  Russian  infantry.  Personally,  I  can  say  they  shoot 
as  well  as  I  have  any  desire  to  have  men  shoot  when  aiming  at 
me.  Twice  on  Friday  I  was  sent  scurrying  off  exposed  ridges  by 
the  waspish  whisper  of  bullets  coming  from  a  Russian  position 
jutting  from  the  south  shore  of  Lake  Miadziol. 

"There  is  not  only  railroad  building,  but  also  much  farming 
going  on  around  Karolinow.  The  land  for  a  distance  of  thirty 
miles  has  been  divided  into  thirteen  farm  districts  by  the  Ger- 
mans and  planted  to  iwtatoes,  rye,  oats  and  summer  barley.  In 
many  parts  the  Germans  are  taking  a  census,  all  their  methodi- 
calness  contributing  vastly  to  the  troops'  comfort  and  happiness. 
Their  health  is  amazing.  The  records  of  one  division  show  five 


sick  men  daily,  which  is  not  as  many  as  one  would  find  in  any 
town  of  20,000  in  any  part  of  the  world. 

"German  caution  and  inventiveness  also  keep  down  the  casual- 
ties marvelously.  Records  I  saw  to-day  showed  thirty-eight 
wounded  in  one  division  in  the  month  of  March,  though  the  di- 
vision was  attacked  twice  during  the  offensive.  The  percentage 
of  heavily  wounded  for  all  the  German  troops  in  this  region  in 
the  last  three  months  averages  seven. 

"Despite  the  horrible  roads,  Field  Marshal  von  Hindenburg 
has  penetrated  to  numerous  villages  on  the  front  in  the  last  few 
days  to  greet  and  thank  the  troops.  Returning  to  his  head- 
quarters Von  Hindenburg  attended  a  banquet  given  by  princes, 
nobles  and  generals  of  the  empire  to  mark  the  fiftieth  year  of 
the  field  marshal's  army  service.  Present  amid  the  notables  was 
a  private  soldier,  in  civil  life  a  blacksmith,  who  was  elected  with 
two  officers  by  their  comrades  to  represent  Von  Hindenburg's 
old  regiment  at  the  banquet.  The  private  was  chosen  because  he 
had  been  in  all  the  battles,  but  never  had  been  wounded  and 
never  sick.    He  wears  the  Iron  Cross  of  both  classes." 



JUST  as  was  the  case  along  the  Russo-German  line,  consider- 
able local  fighting  took  place  during  the  early  part  of  March, 
to  the  south,  along  the  Austro-Russian  front.  Here,  too,  much 
of  it  was  between  scouting  parties  and  advanced  outposts  who 
attempted  to  feel  out  each  other's  strength.  Occasionally  one 
or  the  other  side  would  launch  an  attack,  with  small  forces,  which, 
however,  had  little  influence  on  general  conditions,  even  though 
the  fighting  always  was  furious  and  violent. 

On  March  4,  1916,  a  detachment  of  Russian  scouts  belonging 
to  General  Ivanoff's  army  captured  and  occupied  an  advanced 

134  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Austrian  trench,  close  to  the  bridgehead  of  Michaleze,  to  the 
northeast  of  the  town  of  Uscieszko  on  the  Dniester  River.  Aus- 
trian forces  immediately  atteinpted  to  regain  this  position, 
launching  three  separate  attacks  against  it.  But  the  Russian 
troops  held  on  to  their  slight  gain.  Near  by,  in  the  neighborhood 
of  Zamnshin  on  the  Dniester,  Russian  engineers  had  constructed 
elaborate  mining  works  which  were  exploded  on  the  same  day, 
doing  considerable  damage  to  the  Austrian  defense  works,  and 
enabling  the  Russian  forces  to  occupy  some  advanced  Austrian 

During  the  next  two  weeks  considerable  fighting  of  this 
nature  occurred  at  many  points  along  the  front  from  the  Pripet 
Marshes  down  to  the  Dniester.  At  no  time,  however,  were  the 
forces  engaged  on  either  side  very  numerous,  nor  did  the  results 
change  the  front  materially.  The  various  engagements  coming 
so  early  in  the  year,  quite  some  time  before  spring  could  be  ex- 
pected, signified,  however,  that  there  were  more  important  un- 
dertakings in  the  air.  The  fact  that  the  Russians  were  es- 
pecially active  in  these  scouting  expeditions — for  they  really 
amounted  to  little  more  at  that  time — rather  pointed  toward 
an  early  resumption  of  the  offensive  on  their  part. 

It  was,  therefore,  not  at  all  surprising  that,  before  long,  a 
considerable  increase  in  Russian  artillery  activity  became  notice- 
able. About  the  middle  of  March,  coincident  with  a  similar  in- 
crease of  artillery  attacks  along  the  German-Russian  front,  the 
Russian  guns  in  South  Poland,  Galicia,  and  the  Bukowina  be- 
gan to  thunder  again  as  they  had  not  done  since  the  fall  of  1915. 
This  was  especially  done  along  the  Dniester  River  and  the  Bes- 
sarabian  front. 

During  the  night  of  March  17,  1916,  the  Austrian  position 
near  Uscieszko,  which  had  been  attacked  before  in  the  early 
part  of  March,  again  was  subjected  to  extensive  attacks 
by  means  of  mines  and  to  a  considerable  amount  of  shelling. 
This  was  a  strongly  fortified  position,  guar<iing  a  bridgehead 
on  the  Dniester,  which  had  been  held  by  the  Austrians  ever  since 
October,  1915.  The  mining  operations  W(ire  so  successfully 
planned  and  executed  that  the  Austrian^  were  forced  to  with- 


draw  a  short  distance,  when  the  Russians  followed  the  explosion 
of  their  mines  with  a  determined  attack  with  hand  grenades. 
In  spite  of  this,  however,  the  Austrians  held  the  major  part  of 
this  position  until  March  19,  1916. 

How  furious  the  lighting  was  on  both  sides  is  indicated  in 
the  official  Austrian  statement  announcing  on  March  20,  1916, 
the  final  withdrawal  from  this  position: 

"Yesterday  evening,  after  six  months  of  brave  defense,  the 
destroyed  bridge  and  fortifications  to  the  northwest  of  Uscieszko 
(on  the  Dniester)  were  evacuated.  Although  the  Russians 
succeeded  in  the  morning  in  exploding  a  breach  330  yards  in 
width,  the  garrison,  which  was  attacked  by  an  eightfold  su- 
perior force,  despite  all  losses  held  out  for  seven  hours  in  a 
most  violent  gun  and  infantry  fire. 

"Only  at  5  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  the  commandant,  Colonel 
Planckh,  determined  to  evacuate  the  destroyed  fortifications. 
Smaller  detachments  and  the  wounded  reached  the  south  bank 
of  the  Dniester  by  means  of  boats.  Soon,  however,  this  means 
of  transport  had  to  be  given  up,  owing  to  the  concentrated  fire 
of  the  enemy. 

"There  remained  for  our  brave  troops,  composed  of  the  Kaiser 
Dragoons  and  sappers,  only  one  outlet  if  they  were  to  evade 
capture.  They  had  to  cut  their  way  through  Uscieszko,  which 
was  strongly  occupied  by  the  enemy,  to  our  troops  ensconced  on 
the  heights  north  of  Zaleszczyki.  The  march  through  the  enemy 
position  succeeded.  Under  cover  of  night  Colonel  Planckh  led 
his  heroic  men  toward  our  advanced  posts  northwest  of 
Zaleszczyki,  where  he  arrived  early  this  morning." 

During  the  next  few  days  the  fire  from  the  Russian  batteries 
increased  still  more  in  violence.  It  did  not,  however,  at  any 
time  or  place  assume  the  same  strength  which  it  had  reached 
by  that  time  at  many  points  along  the  Russo-German  front, 
north  of  the  Pripet  Marshes.  Nor,  indeed,  did  the  Russians 
duplicate  in  the  south  their  attempt  at  a  determined  offensive 
which  they  were  making  then  in  the  north. 

Considering  the  relative  importance  of  Russian  activities 
during  the  month  of  March,  1916,  most  of  the  engagements 

136  THE    STORT   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

which  took  place  in  Galicia  and  Volhynia  must  be  classed  as 
unimportant.  On  March  21,  1916,  it  is  true,  abnost  the  entire 
Austrian  front  was  subjected  to  extensive  artillery  fire.  But 
only  at  a  few  points  was  this  followed  by  infantry  attacks,  and 
these  were  executed  with  small  detachments  only.  Along  the 
Strypa  River  Russian  forces  attempted  to  advance  at  various 
points,  without  gaining  any  ground. 

Throughout  the  following  days  many  engagements  between 
individual  outposts  were  again  reported.  On  March  27,  1916, 
a  Russian  attempt  to  capture  Austrian  positions  near  Bojan, 
after  destroying  some  of  the  fortifications  by  mines,  failed.  A 
similar  fate  met  the  attempt  made  during  that  night  to  cross 
the  Strypa  River  at  its  junction  with  the  Dniester.  Other  parts 
of  the  front,  especially  near  Olyka  and  along  the  Bessarabian 
border,  were  again  subjected  to  heavy  artillery  fire. 

Although,  generally  speaking,  the  Austrians  restricted  them- 
selves in  most  instances  to  a  determined  resistance  against  all 
Russian  attacks,  they  took  the  offensive  in  some  places,  without, 
however,  making  any  more  headway  than  their  adversaries. 
By  the  end  of  March,  1916,  aeroplanes  became  more  active  on 
this  part  of  the  front,  just  as  they  did  further  north.  On  March 
28,  1916,  both  sides  report  more  or  less  successful  bombing 
expeditions,  which  on  that  day  seemed  to  bring  better  results 
to  the  Austrians  than  to  the  Russians,  though  these  operations, 
too,  must  be  considered  of  minor  importance.  Increasingly  bad 
weather  now  began  to  hamper  further  undertakings,  just  as  it 
did  in  the  north,  and  by  March  31,  1916,  the  Russian  activities 
seemed  to  have  lost  most  of  their  energy.  Along  the  entire 
southeastern  front  thaw  set  in  and  the  snows  were  melting. 
Although  the  territory  along  the  Austro-Russian  front,  south 
of  the  Pripet  Marshes,  is  not  as  difficult  as  further  north,  not 
being  equally  swampy,  the  fact  that  the  line  ran  to  a  great 
extent  along  rivers  and  through  a  mountainous,  or  at  least  hilly 
country,  resulted  in  difficulties  hardly  less  serious.  Rivers  and 
creeks  which  only  a  few  weeks  before  held  little  water  suddenly 
became  torrents  and  caused  a  great  deal  of  additional  suffering 
to  the  troops  on  both  sides  by  invading  their  trenches. 


The  Russian  offensive  had  barely  slowed  down  when  the 
Austrians  themselves  promptly  assumed  offensive  operations. 
But  here,  too,  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that,  although  we  used 
the  word  offensive,  operations  were  altogether  on  a  minor  scale 
and  restricted  to  local  engagements.  Some  of  the  heaviest  fight- 
ing of  this  period  occurred  near  the  town  of  Olyka,  on  the 
Rovno-Brest-Litovsk  railroad.  Just  south  of  this  place  repeated 
Austrian  attacks  were  launched  against  a  height  held  by  the 
Russians,  both  on  April  1  and  2,  1916,  but  they  were  promptly 

On  April  3,  1916,  another  attack  in  that  neighborhood,  this 
time  northeast  of  Olyka,  near  the  villages  of  Bagnslavka  and 
Bashlyki,  also  failed  to  carry  the  Austrians  into  the  Russian 
trenches.  On  the  same  day  Austrian  attacks  were  reported 
northwest  of  Kremenets  on  the  Ikva,  along  the  Lemberg- 
Tarnopol  railway  and  in  the  vicinity  of  Bojan.  Against  all  of 
these  the  Russian  troops  successfully  maintained  their  positions. 
Austrian  aeroplanes  continued  their  bombing  expeditions 
against  some  of  the  more  important  places  immediately  to  the 
rear  of  the  Russian  front,  without,  however,  inflicting  any  very 
important  damage. 

Again  a  comparative  lull  set  in.  Of  course,  artillery  duels 
as  well  as  continuous  fighting  between  scouting  parties  and  out- 
posts took  place  even  during  that  period.  But  attacks  in  force 
were  rare,  and  then  restricted  to  local  points  only.  The  latter 
were  made  chiefly  by  the  Austrians,  but  did  not  lead  to  anything 
of  importance.  The  official  Russian  statements  report  such 
engagements  on  April  6,  1916,  near  Lake  Sosno,  south  of  Pinsk, 
along  the  upper  Strypa  in  Galicia,  and  north  of  Bojan.  On 
April  7,  1916,  an  Austrian  offensive  attack  attempted  with  con- 
siderable force  on  the  middle  Strypa,  east  of  Podgacie,  in 
Galicia,  did  not  even  reach  the  first  line  of  the  Russian  trenches. 
On  April  9,  1916,  the  Russians  captured  some  Austrian  trenches 
in  the  region  of  the  lower  Strypa,  and  on  April  11,  1916,  re- 
pulsed Austrian  attacks  north  and  south  of  the  railway  station 
of  Olyka.  Once  more  comparative  quiet  set  in  along  the 
southern  part  of  the  eastern  front,  broken  only  by  engagements 


between  outposts  and  by  a  considerable  increase  in  aeroplane 

But  on  April  13,  1916,  the  Russians  again  began  to  hammer 
away  against  the  Austrian  lines.  A  violent  artillery  attack  waa 
launched  against  the  Austrian  positions  on  the  lower  Strypa, 
on  the  Dniester  and  to  the  northwest  of  Czemowitz,  and  the 
Austrians  were  forced  to  withdraw  some  of  their  advanced  posi- 
tions to  their  main  position  northeast  of  Jaslovietz.  Southeast 
of  Buczacz  an  Austrian  counterattack  failed.  A  height  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Strypa,  called  Tomb  of  Popoff,  fell  into  the  hands 
of  the  Russian  troops.  Both  Austrian  and  Russian  aeroplanes 
dropped  bombs,  without  however  inflicting  any  serious  damage, 
even  though  the  Russians  officially  announced  that  as  many  as 
fifty  bombs  fell  on  Zuczka — about  half  a  mile  outside  of  Czerno- 
witz — and  on  North  Czernowitz. 

On  April  14,  1916,  the  Russian  artillery  attacks  on  the  lower 
Strypa,  along  the  Dniester  and  near  Czemowitz,  were  repeated. 
Again  the  Russians  launched  attacks  against  the  advanced 
Austrian  trenches  at  the  mouth  of  the  Strypa  and  southeast  of 
Buczacz.  An  advanced  Russian  position  on  the  road  between 
that  town  and  Czortkov  was  occupied  by  the  Austrians. 

For  the  balance  of  April,  1916,  comparative  quiet  again  ruled 
along  the  southeastern  front.  The  muddy  condition  of  the  roads 
made  extensive  movements  practically  impossible.  Outposts  en- 
gagements, artillery  duels,  aeroplane  bombardments,  isolated 
attacks  on  advanced  trenches  and  field  works,  of  course,  contin- 
ued right  along.  But  both  success  and  failure  were  only  of  local 
importance,  so  that  the  official  reports  in  most  cases  did  not  even 
mention  the  location  of  these  engagements. 

On  the  last  day  of  April,  1916,  however,  the  army  of  Arch- 
Duke  Joseph  Ferdinand  started  a  new  strong  offensive  move- 
ment north  of  Mouravitzy  on  the  Ikva  in  Volhynia.  Heavy 
and  light  artillery  prepared  the  way  for  an  attack  in  consider- 
able force  against  Russian  trenches  which  formed  a  salient  at 
that  point,  west  of  the  villages  of  Little  and  Great  Boyarka. 
The  Russians  had  to  give  ground,  but  soon  afterward  started 
a  strong  counterattack,  supported  by  heavy  artillery  fire,  and 


regained  the  lost  ground,  capturing  some  600  officers  and  men. 
In  the  southern  half  of  the  eastern  front,  just  as  in  the  north- 
em  half,  there  was  little  change  in  the  character  of  fighting  with 
the  coming  of  May  and  the  improvement  in  the  weather.  Ar- 
tillery duels,  aeroplane  attacks,  scouting  expeditions,  and  local 
infantry  attacks  of  limited  extent  and  strength  were  daily  oc- 

On  May  1,  1916,  Austro-Hungarian  detachments  were  forced 
to  withdraw  from  their  advanced  positions  to  the  north  of  the 
village  of  Mlynow.  This  place  is  located  on  the  Ikva  River, 
some  ten  miles  northwest  of  the  fortress  of  Dubno.  Here  the 
Russians  had  made  a  slight  gain  on  April  28,  1916,  and  when 
they  made  an  attack  with  superior  forces  from  their  newly 
fortified  positions,  they  were  able  to  drive  back  the  Austro- 
Hungarians  still  a  little  bit  farther. 

Twenty  miles  farther  north,  in  the  vicinity  of  Olyka,  the  little 
town  about  halfway  between  the  fortress  of  Lutsk  and  Rovno, 
on  the  railway  line  connecting  these  two  points,  the  Russian 
forces  reported  slight  progress  on  May  2,  1916.  Northwest  of 
Kremenets,  in  the  Ikva  section,  Austro-Hungarian  engineers 
succeeded  in  exploding  mines  in  front  of  the  Russian  txenches. 
But  the  Russians  themselves  promptly  utilized  this  accomplish- 
ment by  rushing  out  of  their  trenches  and  making  an  advanced 
trench  of  their  own  out  of  the  mine  craters  dug  for  them  by 
their  enemies. 

Two  days  later,  on  May  4,  1916,  the  Russians  were  able  to 
improve  still  more  their  new  positions  southeast  of  Olyka  sta- 
tion, and  to  gain  some  more  ground  there.  Repeated  Austro- 
Hungarian  counterattacks  were  repulsed.  The  same  fate  was 
suffered  by  determined  infantry  attacks  on  the  Russian  trenches 
in  the  region  of  the  Tarnopol-Pezema  railway,  in  spite  of  the 
fact  that  these  attacks  were  made  in  considerable  force  and  were 
supported  by  strong  artillery  and  rifle  fire.  Later  the  same  day 
an  engagement  between  reconnoitering  detachments  in  the  same 
region,  southwest  of  Tamopol,  resulted  in  the  capture  of  one 
Russian  officer  and  100  men  by  their  Austro-Hungarian  op- 

140  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Minor  engagements  jbetween  scouting  parties  and  outposts 
were  the  rule  of  the  day  on  May  5,  1916.  These  were  especially 
frequent  in  the  region  of  Tzartorysk  on  the  Styr,  just  south 
of  the  Kovel-Kieff  railway  and  south  of  Olyka  station  where 
Austro-Hungarian  troops  were  forced  to  evacuate  the  woods 
east  of  the  village  of  Jeruistche.  A  slight  gain  was  ma^e  on 
May  6,  1916,  by  Russian  troops  in  Galicia,  on  the  lower  Strypa 
River,  north  of  the  village  of  Jaslovietz. 

Extensive  mining  operations,  which,  of  course,  were  carried 
on  at  all  times  at  many  places,  culminated  successfully  for  the 
Russians  in  the  region  northwest  of  Kremenets  on  the  Ikva  and 
south  of  Zboroff  on  the  Tarnopol-Lemberg  railway.  In  the 
latter  place  Russian  troops  crept  through  a  mine  crater  toward 
a  point  where  Austro-Hungarian  engineering  troops  were  pre- 
paring additional  mines  and  dispersed  the  working  parties  by 
a  shower  of  hand  grenades. 

Throughout  the  balance  of  May  operations  along  the  south- 
ern part  of  the  eastern  front  consisted  of  continued  artillery 
duels,  of  frequent  aeroplane  attacks,  and  of  a  series  of  unim- 
portant though  bitterly  contested  minor  engagements  at  many 
points,  most  of  which  had  no  relation  to  each  other,  and  were 
either  attacks  on  enemy  trenches  or  attempts  at  repulsing  such 
attacks.  Equally  continuous,  of  course,  also  were  scouting  ex- 
peditions and  mining  operations.  None  of  these  operations, 
however,  yielded  any  noticeable  results  for  either  side,  and  the 
story  of  one  is  practically  the  story  of  all.  The  result  of  the 
artillery  duels  frequently  was  the  destruction  of  some  advanced 
trenches,  while  occasionally  a  munitions  or  supply  transport  was 
caught,  or  an  exposed  battery  silenced.  Mining  operations 
sometimes  would  also  lead  to  the  destruction  of  isolated  trenches, 
and  thus  change  slightly  the  location  of  the  line.  But  what  one 
side  gained  on  a  given  day  was  often  lost  again  the  next  day, 
and  the  net  result  left  both  Germans  and  Russians  at  the  end 
of  May  practically  where  they  had  been  at  the  beginning.  Most 
of  these  minor  engagements  occurred  in  regions  that  had  seen 
a  great  deal  of  lighting  before.  Again  and  again  there  appear 
in  the  official  reports  such  well«]r>own  names  as  Tzartorysk, 


Kolki,  Olyka,  Kremenets,  Novo  Alecinez,  Styr  River,  Ikva 
River,  Strypa  River.  Inch  by  inch  abnost  this  ground,  long 
ago  drenched  with  the  blood  of  brave  men,  was  fought  over  and 
over  again — and  a  gain  of  a  few  hundred  feet  was  considered, 
indeed,  a  gain. 



WITH  the  coming  of  thaw  and  the  resulting  spring  floods 
roads  along  the  eastern  front,  not  any  too  good  under  the 
most  favorable  climatic  conditions,  had  become  little  else  than 
rivers  of  mud.  Many  of  them,  it  is  true,  had  been  considerably 
improved  during  the  long  winter  months,  especially  on  the  Ger- 
man-Austrian side  of  the  line.  But  in  many  instances  this  im- 
provement consisted  simply  of  covering  them  with  planks  in 
order  to  make  it  possible  to  move  transports  without  having 
wheels  sink  into  the  mud  up  to  the  axles.  When  the  creeks  and 
rivers  along  the  line  were  now  suddenly  transformed  by  the 
melting  snows  into  streams  and  torrents,  much  of  this  improve- 
ment was  carried  aWay  and  many  roads  not  only  sank  back  into 
their  former  impossible  state,  but,  becoming  thoroughly  soaked 
and  saturated  with  water  in  many  places  became  impassable 
even  for  infantry.  Movements  of  large  masses  soon  were  out  of 
the  question.  To  shift  artillery,  especially  of  the  heavier  kind, 
as  quickly  as  an  offensive  movement  required,  and  to  keep  both 
guns  and  men  sufficiently  supplied  with  munitions,  were  out  of  the 
question.  The  natural  result,  therefore,  of  these  conditions  was 
the  prompt  cessation  of  the  Russian  offensive  which  had  been 
started  in  March,  1916,  just  before  the  breaking  up  of  a  severe 

However,  this  did  not  mean  everywhere  a  return  to  the  trench 
warfare,  such  as  had  been  carried  on  all  winter,  although  in  many 
parts  of  the  front  activities  on  both  sides  amounted  to  little  more. 
At  other  points,  however,  offensive  movements  were  kept  up» 

142  THE    STORY   OF  THE    GREAT   WAR 

even  if  they  were  restricted  in  extent  and  force.  Throughout 
the  months  of  April  and  May,  1916,  no  important  changes  took 
place  anywhere  on  the  eastern  front.  A  great  deal  of  the  fight- 
ing, almost  all,  indeed,  was  the  result  of  clashes  between  scouting 
detachments  or  else  simply  a  struggle  for  the  possession  of  the 
most  advantageous  points,  involving  in  most  instances  only  a 
trench  here  or  another  trench  there,  and  always  comparatively 
small  numbers  of  soldiers. 

Though  the  story  of  this  series  of  minor  engagements  as  it  can 
be  constructed  from  oflfidal  reports  and  other  sources  offers  few 
thrills  and  is  lacking  entirely  in  the  sensational  accomplishments 
which  mark  movements  of  greater  extent  and  importance,  this  is 
due  chiefly  to  the  fact  that  few  details  become  known  about  fight- 
ing of  only  local  character.  In  spite  of  this  it  must  be  borne  in 
mind  that  all  of  this  fighting  was  of  the  most  determined  kind, 
was  done  under  conditions  requiring  the  greatest  amount  of 
endurance  and  courage,  and  resulted  in  innumerable  individual 
heroic  deeds,  which,  just  because  they  were  individual,  almost 
always  remained  unknown  to  the  outside  world. 

On  April  1,  1916,  a  German  attack  against  the  bridgehead  at 
Uxkull  was  repulsed  by  Russian  artillery.  Farther  south,  in  the 
Dvinsk  sector  German  positions  were  subjected  to  strong  artil- 
lery bombardment  at  many  points,  especially  at  Mechkele,  and 
just  north  of  Vidzy.  On  the  following  day,  April  2, 1916,  fighting 
again  took  place  in  the  Uxkull  region.  Mines  were  exploded 
near  Novo  Selki,  south  of  Krevo,  a  town  just  south  of  the  Viliya 
River.  The  Germans  launched  an  attack  north  of  the  Barano- 
vitchy  railway  station.  This  is  the  strategically  important  vil- 
lage through  which  both  the  Vilna-Rovno  and  the  Minsk-Brest- 
Litovsk  railways  pass  and  around  which  a  great  deal  of  fighting 
had  taken  place  in  the  past.  Even  though  this  attack  was  ex- 
tensively supported  by  aeroplanes,  which  bombarded  a  number 
of  railway  stations  on  that  part  of  the  Minsk-Baranovitchy  rail- 
way which  was  in  the  hands  of  the  Russians,  it  was  repulsed  by 
che  Russians. 

April  3,  1916,  brought  a  renewal  of  the  German  attacks 
against  the  Uxkull  bridgehead.    For  over  an  hour  and  a  half 


artillery  of  both  heavy  and  light  caliber  prepared  the  way  for 
this  attack.  But  again  the  Russian  lines  held  and  the  Germans 
had  to  desist.  Before  Dvinsk  and  to  the  south  of  the  fortress 
artillery  duels  inflicted  considerable  damage  without  affecting 
the  positions  on  either  side.  Just  north  of  the  Oginski  Canal 
German  troops  crossed  the  Shara  River  and  attacked  the  Rus- 
sian positions  west  of  the  Vilna-Rovno  railway,  without  being 
able  to  gain  ground.  All  along  the  line  aircraft  were  busily 
engaged  in  reconnoitering  and  in  dropping  bombs  on  railway 

The  bombardment  of  the  Uxkull  region  was  again  taken  up 
on  April  4,  1916,  by  the  German  artillery.  South  of  Dvinsk, 
before  the  village  of  Malogolska,  the  German  troops  had  to 
evacuate  their  first-line  of  trenches  when  the  arising  floods  of 
neighboring  rivers  inundated  them.  German  aeroplanes  bom- 
barded the  town  of  Luchonitchy  on  the  Vilna-Rovno  railway, 
just  southeast  of  Baranovitchy. 

By  April  5,  1916,  the  German  artillery  Are  before  Uxkull  had 
spread  to  Riga  and  Jacobstadt,  as  well  as  to  many  points  in  the 
Dvinsk  sector.  Floods  were  still  rising  everywhere  and  the  ice 
on  the  Dvina  began  to  break  up. 

Again  on  April  7,  1916,  the  German  guns  thundered  against 
the  Russian  front  from  Riga  down  to  Dvinsk.  Lake  Narotch, 
where  so  many  battles  had  already  been  fought,  again  was  the 
scene  of  a  Russian  attack  which  resulted  in  the  gain  of  a  few 
advanced  German  positions.  The  next  day  the  Germans 
promptly  replied  with  a  determined  artillery  attack  which  re- 
gained for  their  side  some  of  the  points  lost  the  previous  day. 
Artillery  duels  also  were  staged  near  Postavy,  in  the  Jacobstadt 
sector,  and  at  the  northernmost  end  of  the  line  where  the  Ger- 
man guns  bombarded  the  city  of  Schlock. 

All  day  on  April  9,  1916,  the  guns  of  all  calibers  kept  up  their 
death-dealing  work  along  the  entire  Dvina  front,  and  in  the 
Lake  district  south  of  Dvinsk.  The  railway  stations  at  Remer- 
shaf  and  Dvinsk  were  bombarded  by  German  aeroplanes,  while 
other  units  of  their  aircraft  visited  the  Russian  lines  along  the 
Oginski  Canal.    Both  on  April  11  and  12,  1916,  artillery  activity 

j_War  St.  5 

144  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

on  the  Dvina  was  maintained.  A  German  infantry  attack 
against  the  Uxkull  bridgehead,  launched  on  the  11th,  failed. 

By  this  time  the  ice  had  all  .broken  up  and  the  floods  had 
stopped  rising.  In  the  Pinsk  Marshes  considerable  activity  de- 
veloped on  both  sides  by  means  of  boats.  A  vivid  picture  of 
conditions  as  they  existed  at  this  time  in  the  Pripet  Marshes 
may  be  formed  from  the  following  description  from  the  pen  of 
a  special  correspondent  on  the  staff  of  the  Russian  paper 
"Russkoye  Slovo'': 

"The  marshes,"  he  writes,  "have  awakened  from  their  winter 
sleep.  Even  on  the  paved  roads  movement  is  all  but  impossible ; 
to  the  right  and  left  everything  is  submerged.    The  small  river 

S en  has  become  enormously  broad;  its  shores  are  lost 

in  the  distance. 

*The  marshes  have  awakened,  and  are  taking  their  revenge 
on  man  for  having  disturbed  the  ordinary  life  of  Poliessie.  But 
however  difficult  the  operation,  the  war  must  be  continued  and 
material  obstacles  must  be  overcome.  Owing  to  the  enormous 
area  covered  by  water  the  inhabitants  have  taken  to  boat  build- 
ing. Sentries  and  patrols  move  in  boats,  reconnoitering  parties 
travel  in  boats,  fire  on  the  enemy  from  boats,  and  escape  in 
boats  from  the  attentions  of  the  German  heavy  guns. 

"The  great  marshy  basin  of  the  S en  and  the  P 

is  full  of  new  boats,  which  are  called  'baidaka.*  These  'baidaka' 
are  small,  constructed  to  hold  three  or  four  men.  The  boats 
are  flat-bottomed  and  steady.  The  scouts  take  the  'baidaka*  on 
their  shoulders,  and  as  soon  as  they  come  to  deep  water  launch 
their  craft  and  row  to  the  other  side.  Small  oars  or  paddles 
are  used,  and  punting  operations  are  often  necessary. 

"On  the  S en  these  boats  move  with  great  secrecy  in 

the  night;  in  the  daytime  they  are  hidden  in  rushes  and  reeds. 

"It  was  a  foggy  day  when  we  decided  on  making  a  voyage  in 
a  'baidaka.'  'The  Germans  came  very  suddenly  to  this  place,' 
said  one  of  my  companions.  'Our  soldiers  are  concealed  every- 
where.' We  decided  to  row  near  the  forest,  so  that  in  case  of 
necessity  we  might  gain  the  shelter  of  the  trees.  The  silence 
was  broken  by  occasional  rifle  reports  from  the  direction  of 


Pinsk,  and  a  big  gun  roared  now  and  then.  Once  a  shell  flew 
overhead,  hissing  as  it  went.  But  this  was  very  ordinary  music 
to  us. 

"I  was  more  interested  in  the  intense  silence  of  the  marsh, 
for  I  knew  that  all  this  silence  was  false.  Our  secret  posts 
abounded,  and  perhaps  German  scouts  were  in  the  vicinity. 
The  marsh  was  full  of  men  in  hiding,  and  the  waiting  for  a 
chance  shot  was  more  terrible  than  a  continuous  cannonade. 
Our  sentinels  fired  twice  close  by;  we  did  not  know  why.  The 
shots  resounded  in  the  forest.  We  lay  down  in  our  boat  and 
hid  our  heads.  It  was  difficult  for  us  to  advance  through  the 
undergrowth  as  the  spaces  between  the  bushes  were  generally 
very  narrow.  We  could  not  row,  and  we  had  to  punt  with  our 

"We  advanced  in  this  fashion  half  an  hour.    Then  we  reached 

a  lakelike  expanse  clear  of  growth.    This  is  the  river  S en,' 

I  was  further  informed.    The  Overmans  are  on  the  other  side.' 

"I  could  not  see  where  the  'other  side'  was.  The  water  spread 
to  the  horizon  and  ended  only  in  the  purple  border  of  the  forest. 
'We  must  be  quiet  here,'  one  whispered.  The  boat  moved  along 
the  river  without  a  splash,  and  strange,  unaccustomed  outlines 
grew  up  as  we  proceeded.  'What  place  is  that  yonder?'  I  asked 
my  neighbor.  Tinsk,'  he  replied.  I  felt  excited;  we  were  near 
a  town  that  was  occupied  by  the  Germans,  and  I  wished  that 
boat  would  turn  back. 

"We  got  into  the  rushes  and  moved  through  the  jungle  as 
though  we  were  advancing  in  open  water,  for  the  path  through 
the  rushes  had  been  prepared  in  the  autumn.  We  advanced  in 
this  manner  forty  minutes  until  we  could  distinctly  hear  the 
whistling  of  steam  engines  and  the  bells  ringing  in  the  monas- 
tery at  Pinsk.  It  was  evident  that  the  monks  had  remained. 
The  kaiser  himself  was  in  Pinsk  in  November,'  said  one  of  my 
companions,  'and  we  knew  it.  The  Germans  blew  horns  all 
over  the  railway  line  and  sang  their  national,  hymn.  In  Pinsk 
there  was  much  animation.' 

"A  minute  or  two  later  the  boat  stopped  and  I  was  told  it  was 
dangerous  to  go  farther.     On  the  right  we  could  see  the  out- 

146  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

lines  of  houses  and  of  the  quay  at  Pinsk,  only  about  a  thousand 
paces  distant.  The  town  was  covered  by  a  thin  mist  and  a  faint 
fog  was  rising  from  the  marsh. 

"  'Thei-e  on  your  left  are  their  heavy  guns.'  I  could  see  noth- 
ing except  some  trenches  near  the  quay. 

"We  took  our  leave  of  Pinsk.  The  twilight  had  arrived  and 
it  was  necessary  to  retire.*' 

Though  the  ice  on  the  rivers  and  lakes  had  well  broken  up  by 
the  middle  of  April,  thaw,  of  course,  steadily  increased,  and  with 
it  the  volume  of  water  carried  by  the  creeks  and  rivers.  More 
and  more  difficult  it  became,  therefore,  to  carry  out  military 
operations,  and,  as  a  result  of  these  conditions,  they  were  es- 
pecially limited  at  this  period. 

In  spite  of  this  the  Russians  attempted  local  advance  on  April 
13,  1916,  in  the  region  of  Garbunovka,  northwest  of  Dvinsk  and 
south  of  Lake  Narotch;  however,  though  their  losses  were  quite 
heavy,  they  could  not  gain  any  ground.  This  was  also  true  of 
another  local  attack  made  against  the  army  of  Prince  Leopold 
of  Bavaria  near  Zirin,  on  the  Servetsch  River  northeast  of 
Baranovitchy.  Similarly  unsuccessful  were  German  attacks 
made  the  same  day  between  Lakes  Sventen  and  Itzen.  German 
artillery  still  kept  up  its  work  along  the  entire  front,  especially 
at  Lake  Miadziol,  south  of  Dvinsk  at  Lake  Narotch,  and  at  Smor- 
gon,  the  little  railroad  station  south  of  the  Viliya  River  on  the 
Vilna-Minsk  railway. 

On  the  following  day,  April  14,  1916,  the  Russians  repeated 
their  efforts  in  the  Servetsch  region.  After  strong  artillery 
preparation  they  launched  another  attack  near  Zirin,  and  south- 
east of  Kovelitchy,  but  were  again  repulsed.  The  same  fate 
was  suffered  by  an  attack  attempted  northwest  of  Dvinsk. 
South  of  Garbunovka,  however,  they  registered  a  slight  local 
success.  After  cutting  down  four  lines  of  barbed-wire  obstacles 
that  had  been  erected  by  the  Germans,  they  stormed  and  occu- 
pied two  small  hills  west  and  south  of  this  village.  This  gain 
was  maintained  in  the  face  of  strongly  concentrated  artillery 
and  rifle  fire,  and  repeated  German  counterattacks,  which  later 
proved  very  sanguinary  to  the  German  troops.  German  artillery; 


again  directed  violent  fire  against  the  Russian  positions  be- 
tween Lake  Narotch  and  Lake  Miadziol  and  near  Smorgon.  A 
German  attack  made  northwest  of  the  latter  village  broke  down 
under  Russian  gunfire. 

At  this  point  the  Germans  resumed  their  offensive  at  day- 
break on  April  15,  1916,  after  strong  artillery  preparation 
accompanied  by  the  use  of  asphyxiating  gas.  Concentrated  fire 
from  the  Russian  artillery,  however,  prohibited  any  noticeable 
advance.  During  the  following  day,  April  16,  1916,  both  sides 
restricted  themselves  more  or  less  to  artillery  bombardments, 
which  became  especially  violent  on  the  Dvina  line,  around  the 
Uxkull  bridgehead,  and  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Russian 
positions  south  of  the  village  of  Garbunovka,  as  well  as  between 
Lake  Narotch  and  Lake  Miadziol. 

Two  days  later,  on  April  18,  1916,  German  detachments  tem- 
porarily regained  some  of  the  ground  lost  about  a  week  before 
south  of  Garbunovka.  Again  on  that  day  the  guns  on  both 
sides  roared  along  the  entire  northern  sector  of  the  eastern 
front.  On  the  19th  the  bombardment  became  especially  intense 
at  the  bridgehead  at  Uxkull  and  south  of  lake. 

The  artillery  attack  against  the  former  was  maintained 
throughout  the  following  two  days.  German  scouting  parties 
which  crossed  the  river  Shara,  north  of  the  Oginski  Canal,  on 
April  22,  1916,  were  surrounded  in  the  woods  adjoining  and 
practically  annihilated.  On  the  same  day  a  German  squadron 
of  ten  aeroplanes  bombarded  the  Russian  hangars  on  the  island 
of  Oesel,  a  small  island  in  the  Baltic  across  the  entrance  to  the 
Gulf  of  Riga. 

As  if  both  sides  had  agreed  to  observe  the  Easter  holidays, 
a  lull  set  in  during  the  next  four  or  five  days.  Only  occasional 
unimportant  local  attacks  and  artillery  duels  were  reported. 
Aeroplanes  were  the  only  branch  of  the  two  armies  which 
showed  any  marked  activity.  Dvinsk  was  visited  repeatedly  by 
German  machines  and  extensively  bombarded.  On  April  26, 
1916,  a  German  airship  dropped  bombs  on  the  railway  station 
at  Duna-Muende,  at  the  mouth  of  the  Dvina,  and  caused  con- 
siderable damage.     Other  railway  stations  and  warehouses  at 

148  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

various  points,  a«  well  as  a  number  of  Russian  flying  depots, 
were  attacked  on  April  27,  1916. 

The  end  of  April,  1916,  brought  one  more  important  action, 
the  most  important,  indeed,  which  had  occurred  anywhere  on 
the  eastern  front  since  the  Russian  offensive  of  the  latter  half 
of  March,  1916.  On  April  28,  1916,  at  dawn,  German  artillery 
began  a  very  violent  bombardment  of  the  Russian  positions 
south  of  Lake  Narotch.  There,  between  the  village  of  Stava- 
rotche  and  the  extensive  private  estate  of  Stakhovtsy,  the  Ger- 
mans had  lost  a  series  of  important  trenches  on  March  20,  1916, 
during  the  early  part  of  the  short  Russian  offensive.  Part  of 
these  positions  had  been  recaptured  a  few  days  later  on  March 
26,  1916.  Now,  after  a  considerable  artillery  preparation,  a 
strong  attack  was  launched  with  the  balance  of  the  lost  ground 
as  an  objective.  Large  bodies  of  German  infantry  came  on 
against  the  Russian  positions  in  close  formation.  They  recap- 
tured not  only  all  of  the  ground  lost  previously  but  carried  their 
attack  successfully  into  the  Russian  trenches  beyond.  The  most 
fierce  hand-to-hand  fighting  resulted.  Losses  on  both  sides  were 
severe,  especially  so  on  the  part  of  the  Russians,  who  attempted 
unsuccessfully  during  the  night  following  to  regain  the  lost 
positions  by  a  series  of  violent  counterattacks,  executed  by  large 
forces  of  infantry,  who,  advancing  in  close  formation  over  diffi- 
cult ground,  were  terribly  exposed  to  German  machine-gun  fire 
and  lost  heavily  in  killed  and  wounded.  The  Germans  officially 
claimed  to  have  captured  as  a  result  of  this  operation  the  re- 
markably large  num,ber  of  fifty-six  officers,  5,600  men,  five  guns, 
twenty-eight  machine  guns  and  ten  trench  mortars.  During 
the  same  day  artillery  attacks  were  directed  against  Schlock  on 
the  Gulf  of  Riga  and  Boersemnende  near  Riga,  as  well  as  against 
Smorgon,  south  of  the  Lake  district.  An  infantry  attack,  pre- 
ceded by  considerable  artillery  preparation,  near  the  village 
of  Ginovka,  west  of  Dvinsk,  was  met  by  severe  fire  from  the 
Russian  batteries  and  the  Germans  were  forced  to  withdraw 
to  their  trenches.  In  the  early  morning  hours  German  airships 
bombarded  railway  stations  along  the  Riga-Petrograd  railroad 
as  far  as  Venden,  about  fifty  miles  northeast  of  Riga,  and  along 


the  Dvinsk-Petrograd  railway  as  far  as  Rzezytsa,  about  fifty 
miles  northeast  of  Dvinsk.  At  the  latter  point  considerable 
damage  was  done  by  a  dirigible  which  dropped  explosive  and 
incendiary  bombs. 

Throughout  the  last  day  of  April)  1916,  artillery  duels  were 
fought  again  at  many  points.  Once  more  the  railway  station 
and  bridgehead  at  Uxkull  was  made  the  target  for  a  most 
violent  German  artillery  attack.  Along  the  Dvinsk  sector,  too, 
guns  of  all  caliber  were  busy. 



WITH  the  .beginning  of  May,  the  weather  became  warmer 
and  the  rain  and  watersoaked  roads  more  accessible.  In 
spite  of  this,  however,  conditions  along  the  eastern  front 
throughout  the  entire  month  of  May  were  very  much  the  same 
as  during  April.  Continuously  the  guns  on  both  sides  thundered 
against  each  other,  with  a  fairly  well-maintained  intensity 
which,  however,  would  increase  from  time  to  time  in  some 
places.  Frequently,  almost  daily,  infantry  attacks,  usually  pre- 
ceded by  artillery  preparation,  would  be  launched  at  various 
points.  These,  however,  were  almost  all  of  local  character  and 
executed  by  comparatively  small  forces.  Even  smaller  detach- 
ments, frequently  hardly  more  than  scouting  parties,  often 
would  reach  the  opponent's  lines,  but  only  rarely  succeed  in 
capturing  trenches,  and  then  usually  were  soon  forced  to  retire 
to  their  own  lines  in  the  face  of  successive  counterattacks.  Again 
in  May  the  story  of  events  on  the  eastern  front  is  lacking  in  sensa- 
tional movements,  accompanied  by  equally  unsensational  success 
or  failure.  But,  nevertheless,  it  is  on  both  sides  a  story  of  un- 
ceasing activity,  of  unending  labor,  of  unremitting  toil,  of 
endless  suffering,  of  unlimited  heroism,  and  of  unsurpassed 
courao;e,  the  more  so,  because  much  of  all  that  was  accomplished 

150  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

was  counted  only  as  part  of  the  regular  daily  routine,  and  lacked 
both  the  incentive  and  the  reward  of  widespread  publicity^ 
which  more  frequently  attaches  to  military  operations  of  more 
extensive  character.  Not  for  years  to  come  will  it  be  possible 
to  write  a  detailed  history  of  this  phase  of  the  Great  War  as  far 
as  the  eastern  front  is  concerned.  Not  until  the  regimental 
histories  of  the  various  Russian,  German  and  Austro-HungariaK 
military  units  will  have  been  completed  will  it  become  prac- 
ticable to  recount  all  the  uncounted  deeds  of  valor  accomplished 
by  heroes  whose  names  and  deeds  now  must  remain  unknown 
to  the  world  at  large,  even  though  both  perchance  have  beeiT 
for  months  and  months  on  the  lips  of  equally  brave  comrades 
in  arms. 

The  new  month  was  opened  by  the  Germans  with  another 
intensive  artillery  bombardment  of  the  Uxkull  bridgehead. 
Farther  to  the  south,  before  Dvinsk,  and  also  at  many  points 
in  the  Lake  district  to  the  south  of  this  fortress,  the  Russian 
positions  likewise  were  raked  by  violent  gunfire.  An  attempted 
offensive  movement  on  the  extreme  northern  end  of  the  line 
before  Raggazem,  on  the  Gulf  of  Riga,  broke  down  before  the 
Russian  gunfire,  even  before  it  was  fully  developed.  German 
naval  airships  successfully  bombarded  Russian  military  depots 
at  Perman,  while  another  squadron  of  sea  planes  inflicted  con- 
siderable damage  to  the  Russian  aerodrome  at  Papenholm.  \ 
Russian  squadron  was  less  successful  in  an  attack  on  the  German 
naval  establishment  at  Vindau  on  the  east  shore  of  the  Baltic 

May  2,  1916,  brought  a  continuation  of  artillery  activity  at 
many  points.  It  was  especially  intensive  in  the  Jacobstadt  and 
Dvinsk  sectors  of  the  Dvina  front,  as  well  as  in  the  Ziriu- 
Baranovitchy  sector  in  the  south  and  along  the  Oginski  Canal, 
still  farther  to  the  south.  At  two  other  points  the  Germans^ 
after  extensive  artillery  preparation,  attempted  to  launch  in- 
fantry attacks,  but  were  promptly  driven  back.  This  occurred 
near  the  village  of  Antony,  ten  miles  northwest  of  Postavy^ 
where  two  successive  attacks  failed,  and  farther  north  in  the 
region  east  of  Vidzy. 



The  following  day  again  was  devoted  to  artillery  duels  at 
many  points.  Aeroplanes,  also,  became  more  active.  German 
planes  bombarded  many  places  south  of  Dvinsk,  and  attacked 
the  railway  establishments  at  Molodetchna,  on  the  Vilna-Minsk 
railway,  at  Minsk,  and  at  Luniniets,  in  the  Pripet  Marshes,  east 
of  Pinsk  on  the  Pinsk-Gomel  railway.  May  4,  1916,  brought 
especially  intensive  artillery  fire  along  the  entire  Dvina  front, 
in  the  Krevo  sector  south  of  the  Vilna-Minsk  railway,  and  along 
the  Oginski  Canal,  particularly  in  the  region  of  Valistchie. 

The  Dvina  front  along  its  entire  length  was  once  more  the 
subject  of  a  violent  artillery  attack  from  German  batteries  on 
May  5,  1916.  Uxkull,  so  many  times  before  the  aim  of  the  Ger- 
man fire,  again  received  special  attention.  The  Friedrichstadt 
sector,  too,  came  in  for  its  share.  All  along  this  front  aero- 
planes not  only  guided  the  gunfire,  but  supported  it  extensively 
by  dropping  bombs.  Between  Jacobstadt  and  Dvinsk  a  Russian 
battery  succeeded  in  reaching  a  German  munition  depot  and 
with  one  well-placed  hit  caused  havoc  among  men  and  muni- 
tions. Southeast  of  Lake  Med  a  surprise  attack,  carried  out 
by  comparatively  small  Russian  forces,  resulted  in  the  capture 
of  some  German  trenches.  Northwest  of  Krochin  strong  Ger- 
man forces,  after  artillery  preparation  lasting  over  three  hours, 
attacked  the  village  of  Dubrovka.  Some  ground  was  gained, 
only  to  be  lost  again  shortly  after  as  a  result  of  a  ferocious 
counterattack  made  by  Russian  reenforcements  which  had  been 
brought  up  quickly. 

May  6,  1916,  brought  a  slightly  new  variation  in  fighting. 
Russian  torpedo  boats  appeared  in  the  Gulf  of  Riga,  off  the  west 
coast,  and  bombarded,  without  success,  the  two  towns  of  Rojen 
and  Margrafen.  Artillery  fire  of  considerable  violence  marked 
the  next  day,  May  7,  1916.  Russian  batteries  before  Dvinsk 
caused  a  fire  at  111,  the  little  town  just  northwest  of  Dvinsk  on 
the  Dvinsk-Ponevesh  railway,  and  so  well  was  this  bombard- 
ment maintained  that  the  Germans  were  unable  to  extinguish 
the  conflagration  before  it  had  reached  some  of  their  munition 
depots.  In  the  early  morning  hours  very  violent  gunfire  was 
directed  south  of  lUuxt.    But  an  infantry  attack,  for  which  this 

152  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

bombardment  was  to  act  as  preparation,  failed.  Other  bombard- 
ments were  directed  against  Lake  Ilsen  and  the  sector  north  of 
it,  and  against  the  region  south  of  the  village  of  Vishnieff  on  the 
Beresina  River.  Mining  operations  of  considerable  extent  were 
carried  out  that  night  near  the  village  of  Novo  Selki,  south  of 
the  town  of  Krevo.  On  May  8,  1916,  artillery  fire  again  roared 
along  the  Dvina  front,  especially  against  the  Uxkull  bridge- 
head. An  attack  in  force  was  made  by  German  troops  against 
the  village  of  Peraplianka  north  of  Smorgon  on  the  Viliya 
May  9,  1916.  After  considerable  artillery  preparation  the  Ger- 
mans rushed  up  against  the  Russian  barbed-wire  obstacles. 
There,  however,  they  were  stopped  by  concentrated  artillery  and 
rifle  fire  and,  after  heavy  losses,  had  to  withdraw.  A  Russian  at- 
tack of  a  similar  nature  south  of  Garbunovka  was  not  any  more 
successful.  In  the  Pripet  Marshes,  too,  artillery  operations  had 
by  now  become  possible  again  and  the  Russian  positions  west 
of  the  village  of  Pleshichitsa,  southeast  of  Pinsk,  were  subjected 
to  a  violent  bombardment. 

Throughout  the  balance  of  May  not  a  day  passed  during 
which  guns  of  all  calibers  did  not  maintain  a  violent  bombard- 
ment at  many  points  along  the  entire  front.  Especially  fre- 
quent and  severe  was  the  gunfire  which  the  Germans  directed 
against  the  Dvina  sector  of  the  Russian  positions.  But,  just 
as  in  the  past  weeks,  the  result,  though  not  at  all  negligible  as 
far  as  the  damage  inflicted  on  men,  material,  and  fortifications 
was  concerned,  was  practically  nil  in  regard  to  any  change  in 
the  location  of  the  front. 

Infantry  attacks  during  this  period  were  not  lacking,  though 
they  were  less  frequent  than  artillery  bombardments,  and  were 
at  all  times  only  of  local  character,  and  in  most  cases  executed 
with  limited  forces.  A  great  deal  of  this  kind  of  fighting  oc- 
curred in  the  region  of  Olyka  where  engagements  took  place 
almost  every  day.  One  of  the  few  more  important  events  was 
a  German  attack  against  the  Jacobstadt  sector  of  the  Dvina 
front.  For  two  days.  May  10  and  11,  1916,  the  fighting  con- 
tinued, becoming  especially  violent  to  the  north  of  the  railway 
station  of  Selburg  on  the  Mitau-Kreutzburg  railway.    There 


very  heavy  artillery  fire  succeeding  the  infantry  attacks  had 
destroyed  some  small  villages  for  the  possession  of  which  the 
most  furious  kind  of  hand-to-hand  fighting  ensued.  Finally 
the  Germans  captured  by  storm  about  500  yards  of  the  Russian 
positions  as  well  as  some  300  unwounded  soldiers  and  a  few 
machine  guns  and  mine  throwers. 

Engagements  of  a  similar  character,  though  not  always  yield- 
ing such  definite  results  to  either  side,  occurred  on  May  11, 
1916,  southwest  of  Lake  Medum,  on  May  12,  1916,  at  many 
points  along  the  Oginski  Canal  and  also  in  the  Pripet  Marshes, 
where  fighting  now  had  again  become  a  physical  possibility. 
On  the  latter  day  a  Russian  attempt  to  recapture  the  positions 
lost  previously  near  Selburg  failed. 

Thus  the  fortunes  of  war  swayed  from  side  to  side.  One  day 
would  bring  to  the  Germans  the  gain  of  a  trench,  the  capture 
of  a  few  hundred  men  or  guns,  or  the  destruction  of  an  enemy 
battery,  to  .be  followed  the  next  day  by  a  proportionate  loss. 
So  closely  was  the  entire  line  guarded,  so  strongly  and  elabor- 
ately had  the  trenches  and  other  fortifications  been  built  up, 
that  the  fighting  developed  into  a  multitude  of  very  short  but 
closely  contested  engagements.  In  each  one  of  these  the  num- 
bers engaged  were  very  small,  though  the  grand  total  of  men 
fighting  on  a  given  day  at  so  many  separate  points  on  a  front 
of  some  500  miles  was,  of  course,  still  immense. 

Amongst  the  places  which  saw  the  most  fighting  during  this 
period  were  many  which  had  been  mentioned  a  great  many 
times  before.  Again  and  again  there  appeared  in  the  official 
records  such  names  as:  Lake  Sventen,  Krevno,  Lake  Miadziol, 
Ostroff,  Lake  Narotch,  Smorgon,  Dahlen  Island,  and  many 

The  net  result  of  all  the  fighting  during  May,  1916,  was  that 
both  sides  lost  considerable  in  men  and  material.  Both  Rus- 
sians and  Germans,  however,  had  succeeded  in  maintaining 
their  respective  lines  in  practically  the  same  position  in  which 
they  had  been  at  the  beginning  of  May. 

154  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 



TOURING  the  first  two  days  of  June,  1916,  a  lull  occurred  at 
■*-^  almost  all  important  points  of  the  eastern  front.  Only  one 
or  two  engagements  of  extremely  minor  importance  between 
scouting  parties  were  reported.  In  the  light  of  future  events 
this  remarkable  condition  might  well  be  called  ominous,  es^ 
pecially  if  one  connects  with  it  a  decided  increase  in  Russian 
aeroplane  activity,  which  resulted  in  two  strong  attacks  on  June 
1,  1916,  against  points  on  the  Vilna-Minsk  and  Samy-Kovel 

On  June  2,  1916,  a  more  or  less  surprising  increase  in  the 
strength  of  the  Russian  artillery  fire  was  noticed,  especially 
along  the  Bessarabian  and  Volhynian  fronts  and  in  the  Ikva 
sector.  So  strong  did  this  fire  become  that  the  official  Austrian 
statement  covering  that  day  says  that  at  several  places  the 
artillery  duels  "assumed  the  character  of  artillery  battles." 

More  and  more  the  extent  and  violence  of  the  Russian  ar- 
tillery attack  increased.  The  next  day,  June  3,  1916,  Russian 
artillery  displayed  the  greatest  activity  all  along  the  southern 
half  of  the  eastern  front,  and  covered  the  Dniester,  Strypa,  and 
Ikva  sectors,  as  well  as  the  gap  between  the  last  two  rivers, 
northwest  of  Tarnopol,  and  the  entire  Volhynian  front. 
Near  Olyka  in  the  region  of  the  three  Volhynian  fortresses  o( 
Rovno,  Dubno,  and  Lutsk,  the  Russian  gunfire  was  especially 
intense  along  a  front  of  about  seventeen  miles.  That  this  un- 
usually strong  artillery  activity  increased  the  alarm  of  the 
Austro-Hungarian  commanders  may  readily  be  seen  from  the 
concluding  sentence  of  that  day's  official  Austrian  statement, 
which  read :  "Everywhere  there  are  signs  of  an  impending  in- 
fantry attack." 

The  storm  oegan  to  break  the  next  day,  June  4,  1916.  That 
it  was  entirely  unexpected,  was  not  likely,  for  this  new  Russian 
offensive  coincided  with  the  Austro-Hungarian  offensive  against 



the  Italian  front  which  by  that  time  had  assumed  threatening 
developments.  Undoubtedly  it  was  one  of  the  objects  of  the 
Russian  offensive  to  force  the  Austrians  to  withdraw  troops 
from  the  Italian  front  and  at  least  curtail  their  offensive  efforts 
against  the  Italian  armies,  if  not  to  stop  them  entirely.  At  the 
same  time  the  limits  within  which  the  Russian  offensive  was 
undertaken  indicated  that  the  Russian  General  Staff  had 
another  much  more  important  object  in  view,  the  breaking  of 
the  German-Austrian  front  at  about  the  point  where  the  Ger- 
man right  touched  the  Austrian  left.  Along  a  front  of  over  300 
miles  the  Russian  forces  attacked.  From  the  Pinth  in  the 
south — at  the  Rumanian  border  to  the  outrunners  of  the  Pripet 
Marshes — near  Kolki  and  the  bend  of  the  Styr — in  the  north  the 
battle  raged.  At  many  points  along  this  line  the  Russians 
achieved  important  successes,  with  unusual  swiftness  they  were 
pushing  whatever  advantage  they  were  able  to  gain.  But  not 
only  swiftness  did  they  employ.  Immense  masses  of  men  were 
thrown  against  the  strongly  fortified  Austrian  lines  and  quanti- 
ties of  munitions  of  the  Russian  artillery  which  transcended 
everything  that  had  ever  been  done  along  this  line  on  the  east- 
em  front.  Not  against  one  or  two  points  chosen  for  that 
particular  purpose,  but  against  every  important  point  on  the 
entire  line  the  Russian  attacks  were  hurled.  The  most  bitter 
struggle  developed  at  Okna,  northwest  of  Tamopol,  at  Koklow, 
at  Novo  Alexinez,  along  the  entire  Ikva,  at  Sanor,  around  Olyka 
and  from  there  north  to  Dolki.  No  matter  how  strong  the 
natural  defenses,  no  matter  how  skillful  the  artificial  obstacles, 
on  and  on  rolled  the  thousands  and  thousands  of  Russians.  So 
overwhehning  was  this  onrush  that  the  Austro-Hungarians  had 
to  give  way  in  many  places  in  spite  of  the  most  valiant  resist- 
ance, and  so  quick  did  it  come  that  as  a  result  of  the  first  day's 
work  the  Russians  could  claim  to  have  captured  13,000  prison- 
ers, many  guns  and  machine  guns. 

By  June  5,  1916,  this  number  had  increased  to  480  officers, 
25,000  men,  twenty-seven  guns  and  fifty  machine  guns.  The 
battle  on  the  northeast  front  continued  on  the  whole  front  of 
218  miles  with    undiminished  stubbornness.     North  of    Okna, 

156  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  Austrians  had,  after  stiff  and  fluctuating  battles,  to  with- 
draw their  shattered  first  positions  to  the  line  prepared  three 
miles  to  the  south.  Near  Jarlowiec,  on  the  lower  Strypa,  the 
Russians  attacked  after  artillery  preparation.  They  were  re- 
pulsed at  some  places  by  hand  fighting.  At  the  same  time  a 
strong  Russian  attack  west  of  Trembowla  (south  of  Tamopol) 
broke  down  under  Austrian  fire.  West-northwest  of  Tarnopol 
there  was  bitter  fighting.  Near  Sopanow  (southeast  of  Dubno) 
there  were  numerous  attacks  by  the  enemy.  Between  Mlynow, 
on  the  Ikva,  and  the  regions  northwest  of  Olyka,  the  Russians 
were  continually  becoming  stronger,  and  the  most  bitter  kind  of 
fighting  developed. 

Especially  heavy  fighting  developed  in  the  region  before 
Lutsk.  There  the  pressure  from  the  Russian  army  of  General 
Brussilov  had  become  so  strong  that  the  Austrians  had  found 
it  necessary  by  June  6,  1916,  to  withdraw  their  forces  to  the 
plain  of  Lutsk,  just  to  the  east  of  that  fortress  and  of  the  river 
Styr.  This  represented  a  gain  of  at  least  twenty  miles  made 
in  two  days.  The  official  Russian  statement  of  that  day  claimed 
that  during  the  same  period  General  Brussilov's  armies  had  cap- 
tured 900  officers,  more  than  40,000  rank  and  file,  seventy-seven 
guns,  134  machine  guns  and  forty-nine  trench  mortars,  and,  in 
addition,  searchlights,  telephone,  field  kitchens,  a  large  quantity 
of  arms  and  war  material,  and  great  reserves  of  ammunition. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  Austrians  were  still  offering  a  de- 
termined resistance  at  most  points  south  and  north  of  Lutsk, 
and  Russian  attacks  were  repulsed  with  sanguinary  losses  at 
many  places,  as  for  instance  at  Rafalowka,  on  the  lower  Styr, 
near  Berestiany,  on  the  Corzin  Brook,  near  Saponow,  on  the 
npper  Strypa,  near  Jazlovice,  on  the  Dniester,  and  on  the  Bessa- 
rabian  frontier.  Northwest  of  Tarnopol  were  repulsed  two 
Attacks.     At  another  point  seven  attacks  were  repulsed. 

The  Russians  also  suffered  heavy  losses  in  the  plains  of  Okna 
(north  of  the  Bessarabian  frontier)  and  at  Debronoutz,  where 
there  were  bitter  hand-to-hand  engagements. 

It  was  quite  clear  by  this  time  that  the  Russian  offensive 
threatened  not  only  the  pushing  back  of  the  Austrian  line,  but 




lo  20 


UUNE"  5.  19I6 
^^^   AUGUST  15.1916 

ouine:    i9ie> 




158  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

their  very  existence.  Unless  the  Austrians  either  succeeded  in 
repulsing  the  Russians  decidedly  or  else  found  some  other  way 
of  reducing  immediately  the  strength  of  this  extensive  offensive 
movement,  it  was  inevita.ble  that  many  of  the  important  con- 
quests which  the  Central  Powers  had  made  in  the  fall  of  1915 
would  be  lost  again.  In  spite  of  this  and  in  spite  of  the  quite 
apparent  strength  of  the  Russian  forces,  it  caused  considerable 
surprise  when  it  was  announced  officially  on  June  8,  1916,  that 
the  fortress  of  Lutsk  had  been  captured  by  the  Russians  on 
June  7,  1916. 

The  fortress  lies  halfway  between  Rovno  and  Kovel,  on  the 
important  railway  line  that  runs  from  Brest-Litovsk  to  the 
region  southwest  of  Kiev.  It  is  this  railway  sector,  between 
Rovno  and  Kovel,  that  has  been  the  objective  of  the  Russian 
attacks  ever  since  the  Teuton  offensive  came  to  a  standstill  eight 
months  ago,  for  its  control  would  give  the  Russians  a  free  hand 
to  operate  southward  against  the  lines  in  Galicia. 

Lutsk  is  a  minor  fortress,  the  most  westerly  of  the  Volhynian 
triangle  formed  by  Rovno,  Dubno,  and  Lutsk.  The  town  is  the 
center  of  an  important  grain  trade,  and  the  districts  of  which  it 
is  the  center  contained  before  the  war  a  considerable  German 
colony.  It  is  supposed  to  have  been  founded  in  the  seventh 
century.  In  1791  it  was  taken  by  Russia.  It  is  the  seat  of  a 
Roman  Catholic  bishop  and  at  the  outbreak  of  the  war  had  a 
population  of  about  18,000.  During  the  war  it  suffered  a  varied 
fate.  On  September  1,  1915,  it  was  captured  by  the  combined 
German  and  Austro-Hungarian  forces  which  had  accomplished 
a  month  before  the  capture  of  Warsaw  and  had  forced  the  Rus- 
sian legions  to  a  full  retreat.  Twenty-three  days  later  it  was 
evacuated  by  the  forces  of  the  Central  Powers  and  recaptured 
by  the  Russians  on  September  24,  1915.  Four  days  later,  Sep- 
tember 28,  1915,  the  Russians  were  forced  to  withdraw  again, 
and  on  October  1,  1915,  it  fell  once  more  into  the  hands  of  the 
Austrians.  During  the  winter  the  Russians  had  made  a  dash 
for  its  recapture,  but  had  not  succeeded,  and  ever  since  the  front 
had  been  along  a  line  about  twenty  miles  to  the  east.  The  cap- 
ture of  the  fortress  was  due  primarily  to  the  immensity  of  the 


Russian  artillery,  which  maintained  a  violent,  continuous  fire, 
(smashing  the  successive  rows  of  wire  entanglements,  breastworks, 
and  trenches.  The  town  was  surrounded  with  nineteen  rows  of 
entanglements.  The  laconic  order  to  attack  was  given  at  dawn 
on  June  7,  1916.  Up  to  noon  the  issue  hung  in  the  balance,  but 
at  1  o'clock  the  Russians  made  a  breach  in  the  enemy's  position 
near  the  village  of  Podgauzy.  They  repulsed  a  fierce  Austrian 
counterattack  and  captured  3,000  prisoners  and  many  guns. 
Almost  simultaneously  another  Russian  force  advanced  on 
Lutsk  along  the  Dubno  and  stormed  the  trenches  of  the  village 
of  Krupov,  taking  several  thousand  prisoners.  General  Brus- 
silov  seemed  to  have  at  his  disposal  an  immense  infantry  force, 
which  he  sent  forward  in  rapid,  successive  waves  after  artillery 
preparation.  Reserves  were  brought  up  so  quickly  that  the 
enemy  was  given  no  time  to  recover  from  one  assault  before 
another  was  delivered. 

Fifty-eight  officers,  11,000  men  and  large  quantities  of  guns, 
machine  guns,  and  ammunition  fell  in  the  hands  of  the  victorious 
Russian  armies.  On  the  same  day  on  which  Lutsk  was  captured 
other  forces  stormed  strong  Austrian  positions  on  the  lower 
Strypa  in  Galicia  between  Trybuchovice  and  Jazlovice  and 
crossed  both  the  Ikva  and  the  Styr.  Along  the  northern  part 
of  the  front,  north  of  the  Pripet  River,  comparative  quiet 
reigned  throughout  the  early  stages  of  the  Russian  offensive. 
During  the  evening  of  June  7,  1916,  however,  German  artillery 
violently  bombarded  the  region  northeast  of  Krevo  and  south  of 
Smorgon,  southeast  of  Vilna.  The  bombardment  soon  extended 
farther  north,  and  during  the  night  of  June  8,  1916,  the  Ger- 
mans took  the  offensive  there  with  considerable  forces. 

In  the  neighborhood  of  Molodetchna  station  (farther  east)  on 
the  Vilna-Minsk  railway,  a  German  aeroplane  dropped  four 

Five  German  aeroplanes  carried  out  a  raid  on  the  small  town 
of  Jogishin,  north  of  Pinsk,  dropping  about  fifty  bombs. 

The  battle  in  Volhynia  and  Galicia  continued  with  undimin- 
ished force  on  June  8,  1916.  Near  Sussk,  to  the  east  of  Lutsk, 
a  squadron  of  Cossacks  attacked  the  enemy  behind  his  fortified 


160  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

lines,  capturing  two  guns,  eight  ammunition  wagons,  and  200 
boxes  of  anmiunition. 

Near  Boritin,  four  miles  southeast  of  Lutsk,  Russian  scouts 
captured  two  4-inch  guns,  with  four  officers  and  160  men.  A 
4-inch  gun  and  thirty-five  ammunition  wagons  were  captured, 
near  Dobriatin  on  the  Ikva  below  Mlynow,  fourteen  miles  south- 
east of  Lutsk. 

Young  troops,  just  arrived  at  the  front,  vied  with  seasoned 
Russian  regiments  in  deeds  of  valor.  Some  regiments  formed 
of  Territorial  elements  by  an  impetuous  attack  drove  back  the 
Austrians  on  the  Styr,  and  pressing  close  on  their  heels  forced 
the  bridgehead  near  Rozhishche,  thirteen  miles  north  of  Lutsk, 
at  the  same  time  taking  about  2,500  German  and  Austrian  pris- 
oners, as  well  as  machine  guns  and  much  other  booty.  Other 
regiments  forced  a  crossing  over  the  Strypa  and  some  advanced 
detachments  even  reached  the  next  river,  the  Zlota  Potok,  about 
five  miles  to  the  west. 

The  number  of  prisoners  captured  by  the  Russians  continually 
increased.  Exclusive  of  those  already  reported — ^namely,  958 
officers,  and  more  than  51,000  Austrian  and  German  soldiers, 
they  captured  in  the  course  of  the  fighting  on  June  8,  1916,  185 
officers  and  13,714  men,  making  the  totals  so  far  registered  in 
the  present  operations  1,143  officers  and  64,714  men. 

The  next  day,  June  9, 1916,  the  troops  under  General  Brussilov 
continued  the  offensive  and  the  pursuit  of  the  retreating  Aus- 
trians. Fighting  with  the  latter's  rear  guards,  they  crossed  the 
river  Styr  above  and  below  Lutsk. 

In  Galicia,  northwest  of  Tamopol,  in  the  regions  of  Gliadki 
and  Cebrow,  heavy  fighting  developed  for  the  possession  of 
heights,  which  changed  hands  several  times.  During  that  day's 
fighting  the  Russians  captured  again  large  numbers  of  Aus- 
trians, consisting  of  ninety-seven  officers  and  5,500  men  and 
eleven  guns,  making  a  total  up  to  the  present  of  1,240  officers 
and  about  71,000  men,  ninety-four  guns,  167  machine  guns, 
fifty-three  mortars,  and  a  large  quantity  of  other  war  material. 

At  dawn  of  June  10,  1916,  Russian  troops  entered  Buczacz 
on  the  west  bank  of  the  Strypa  and,  developing  the  offensive 


along  the  Dniester,  carried  the  village  of  Scianka,  eight  miles 
west  of  the  Strypa.  In  the  village  of  Potok  Zloty,  four  miles 
west  of  the  Strypa,  they  seized  a  large  artillery  park  and  large 
quantities  of  shells. 

In  the  north  the  Germans  again  attempted  to  relieve  the 
pressure  on  their  allies  by  attacking  in  force  at  many  points. 
Artillery  duels  were  fought  along  the  Dvina  front  and  on  the 
Oginski  Canal. 

Without  let  up,  however,  the  Russian  advance  continued.  So 
furious  and  swift  was  the  onslaught  of  the  czar's  armies  that 
the  Austrians  lost  thousands  upon  thousands  of  prisoners  and 
vast  masses  of  war  material  of  every  kind.  For  instance,  in 
one  sector  alone  the  Austrians  were  forced  to  retreat  so  rapidly 
that  the  Russians  were  able  to  gather  in,  according  to  official 
reports,  twenty-one  searchlights,  two  supply  trains,  twenty- 
nine  field  kitchens,  forty-seven  machine  guns,  193  tons  of 
barbed  wire,  1,000  concrete  girders,  7,000,000  concrete  cubes, 
160  tons  of  coal,  enormous  stores  of  ammunition,  and  a  great 
quantity  of  arms  and  other  war  material.  In  another  sector 
they  captured  80,000  rounds  of  rifle  ammunition,  300  boxes  of 
machine-gun  ammunition,  200  boxes  of  hand  grenades,  1,000 
rifles  in  good  condition,  four  machine  guns,  two  optical  range 
finders,  and  even  a  brand-new  Norton  well,  a  portable  con- 
trivance for  the  supply  of  drinking  water. 

The  prisoners  captured  during  June  10,  1916,  comprised  one 
general,  409  officers,  and  35,100  soldiers.  The  material  booty 
included  thirty  guns,  thirteen  machine  guns,  and  five  trench 
mortars.  The  total  Russian  captures  in  the  course  of  about  a 
week  thus  amount  to  one  general,  1,649  officers,  more  than  106,- 
000  soldiers,  124  guns  of  all  sorts,  180  machine  guns,  and  fifty- 
eight  trench  mortars. 

This  was  now  the  seventh  day  of  the  new  Russian  offensive, 
and  on  it  another  valuable  prize  fell  into  the  hands  of  General 
Brussilov,  the  town  and  fortress  of  Dubno.  This  brought  his 
forces  within  twenty-five  miles  of  the  Galician  border  and  put 
the  czar's  forces  again  in  the  possession  of  the  Volhynian  for- 
tress triangle,  consisting  of  Lutsk,  Dubno,  and  Rovna 

162  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Dubno,  which  had  been  in  the  hands  of  the  Austrians  since 
September  7,  1916,  lies  on  the  Rovno-Brody-Lemberg  rail- 
way, and  is  about  eighty-two  miles  from  the  Galician  capital, 
Lemberg.  The  town  has  about  14,000  inhabitants,  mostly 
Jews,  engaged  in  the  grain,  tobacco,  and  brickmaking  industry. 
It  was  in  existence  as  early  as  the  eleventh  century. 

So  powerful  was  the  Russian  onrush  on  Dubno  that  the 
attackers  swept  westward  apparently  without  meeting  any  re- 
sistance, for  on  the  same  day  on  which  the  fortress  fell,  some 
detachments  crossed  the  Ikva.  One  part  of  these  forces  even 
swept  as  far  westward  as  the  region  of  the  village  of  Demidovka, 
on  the  Mlynow-Berestetchko  road,  thirteen  miles  southwest  of 
the  Styr  at  Mlynow,  compelling  the  enemy  garrison  of  the 
Mlynow  to  surrender.  Demidovka  is  twenty-five  miles  due  west 
of  Dubno.  Thus  the  Russians  have  in  Volhynia  alone  pushed 
the  Austro-Hungarian  lines  back  thirty-two  miles. 



SIMULTANEOUSLY  with  the  drive  in  Volhynia,  the  extreme 
left  wing  of  the  Russian  southern  army  under  General  Le- 
chitsky  forced  the  Austro-Hungarians  to  withdraw  their  whole 
line  in  the  northeastern  Bukowina,  invaded  the  crownland  with 
strong  forces  and  advanced  to  within  fourteen  miles  of  the 
capital,  Czemowitz.  On  the  Strypa  the  Austrians  had  to  fall 
back  from  their  principal  position  north  of  Buczacz.  In  spite  of 
the  most  desperate  resistance  and  in  the  face  of  a  violent  flank- 
ing fire,  and  even  curtain  fire,  and  the  explosions  of  whole  sets 
of  mines.  General  Lechitsky's  troops  captured  the  Austrian  po- 
sitions south  of  Dobronowce,  fourteen  miles  nortri&ast  of  Czer- 
nowitz.  In  that  region  alone  the  Russians  claimed  to  have  cap- 
tured 18,000  soldiers,  one  general,  347  officers,  and  ten  guns. 


Southeast  of  Zaleszcyki  on  the  Dniester  the  Russians  again 
were  victorious  and  forced  the  withdrawal  of  the  Austrian  lines. 
Fourteen  miles  north  of  Czemowitz  the  Austrian  troops  tried  to 
stem  the  tide  by  blowing  up  the  railroad  station  of  Jurkoutz. 
At  the  same  time  they  made  their  first  imporant  counterattack 
in  the  Lutsk  region.  Making  a  sudden  stand,  after  being  driven 
over  the  river  Styr,  north  of  Lutsk,  they  turned  on  the  Russians 
with  the  aid  of  German  detachments  rushed  to  them  by  General 
von  Hindenburg,  drove  the  Muscovite  troops  back  over  the  Styr 
and  took  1,508  prisoners,  including  eight  officers.  At  other 
points,  too,  the  Austrian  resistance  stiffened  perceptibly,  espe- 
cially in  the  region  of  Torgovitsa,  and  on  the  Styr  below  Lutsk. 

Dubno,  a  modem  fortress,  built,  like  Lutsk,  mainly  in  support 
of  Rovno,  to  ward  off  possible  aggression,  now  supplied  an 
(excellent  starting  point  for  a  Russian  drive  into  the  heart  of 
Galicia.  Proceeding  on  both  sides  of  the  Rovno-Dubno-Brody* 
Lemberg  railway  the  Russians  should  be  able  to  cover  the  eighty- 
two  miles  which  still  separates  them  from  the  Galician  capital 
within  a  comparatively  short  time,  provided  that  Austrian  resis- 
tance in  this  region  continues  as  weak  as  it  has  been  up  to  date. 

A  greater  danger  than  the  capture  of  Lemberg  was,  however, 
presented  by  the  Russian  advance  into  the  Bukowina.  If  these 
two  Russian  drives — to  Lemberg  and  to  Czemowitz  —  would 
prove  successful  the  whole  southeastern  Austro-Hungarian  army 
would  find  itself  squeezed  between  two  Russian  armies,  and  its 
only  escape  would  be  into  the  difficult  Carpathian  Mountain 
passes,  where  the  Russians,  this  time  well  equipped  and  greatly 
superior  in  numbers,  could  be  expected  to  be  more  successful 
than  in  their  first  Carpathian  campaign. 

Still  the  Russian  advance  continued,  although  on  June  11, 
1916,  there  was  a  slight  slowing  down  on  account  of  extensive 
storms  that  prevailed  along  the  southern  part  of  the  front. 

In  Galicia,  in  the  region  of  the  villages  of  Gliadki  and  Vero- 
bieyka,  north  of  Tarnopol,  the  Austrians  attacked  repeatedly 
and  furiously,  but  were  repulsed  on  the  morning  of  the  11th. 
Farther  south,  however,  near  the  town  of  Bobulintze,  on  the 
Strypa,  fifteen  miles  north  of  Buczacz,  the  Austro-Hungarians, 

164  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

strongly  reenforced  by  Germans,  scored  a  substantial  success. 
They  launched  a  furious  counterattack,  bringing  the  Russian 
assaults  to  a  standstill  and  even  forcing  the  Muscovite  troops 
to  retreat  a  short  distance.  According  to  the  German  War  Office 
more  than  1,300  Russian  prisoners  were  taken. 

Simultaneously  with  this  partial  relief  in  the  south  Field 
Marshal  von  Hindenburg  began  an  attack  at  several  points 
against  the  Russian  right  wing  and  part  of  the  center.  He  pene- 
trated the  czar's  lines  at  two  points  near  Jacob&tadt,  halfway 
between  Riga  and  Dvinsk,  and  at  Kochany  between  Lake  Narotch 
and  Dvinsk.  At  the  three  other  points,  in  the  Riga  zone,  south 
of  Lake  Drisviaty  and  on  the  Lassjolda,  his  attacks  broke  down 
under  the  Russian  fire. 

Lemberg,  Galicia's  capital,  was  now  threatened  from  three 
sides.  Czemowitz,  the  capital  of  the  Bukowina,  was  even  in  a 
more  precarious  position.  It  had  been  masked  by  the  extreme 
left  wing  of  the  Russian  armies  and,  unless  some  unexpected 
turn  came  to  the  assistance  of  the  Austrians,  its  fall  was  sure 
to  be  only  a  matter  of  days,  or  possibly  even  of  hours.  All  of 
southern  Volhynia  had  been  overrun  by  the  Russians  who  were 
then,  on  the  ninth  day  of  their  offensive,  forty-two  miles  west 
of  the  point  from  where  it  had  begun  in  that  province. 

Northwest  of  Rojitche,  in  northwestern  Volhynia,  after  dis- 
lodging the  Germans,  General  Brussilov  on  June  12,  1916,  ap- 
proached the  river  Stokhod.  West  of  Lutsk  he  occupied  Torchin 
and  continued  to  press  the  enemy  back. 

On  the  Dniester  sector  and  farther  General  Lechitsky's  troops, 
having  crossed  the  river  after  fighting,  captured  many  fortified 
points  and  also  the  town  of  Zaleszcyky,  twenty-five  miles  north- 
west of  Czernowitz.  The  village  of  Jorodenka,  ten  miles  farther, 
northwest  of  Zaleszcyky,  also  was  captured. 

On  the  Pruth  sector,  between  Doyan  and  Niepokoloutz,  the 
Russian  troops  approached  the  left  bank  of  the  river,  near  the 
bridgehead  of  Czemowitz. 

The  only  point  at  which  the  Austrian  line  held  was  near  Kolki 
In  northern  Volhynia,  south  of  the  Styr.  There  attempts  by  the 
Eussians  to  cross  that  river  failed  and  some  2,000  men  were 


captured  by  the  Austro-Hungarians.  In  the  north  Field  Marshal 
?on  Hindenburg's  efforts  to  divert  the  Russian  activities  in  the 
south  by  a  general  offensive  along  the  Dvina  line  had  not  de- 
veloped beyond  increased  artillery  bombardments  which  appar- 
ently exerted  no  influence  on  the  movements  of  the  Russian 
armies  in  Volhynia,  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina. 

The  only  hopeful  sign  for  the  fate  of  the  threatened  Austro- 
Hungarian  armies  was  the  fact  that  the  daily  number  of  pris- 
oners taken  by  the  Russians  gradually  seemed  to  decrease,  indi- 
cating that  the  Austrians  found  it  possible  by  now,  if  not  to 
withstand  the  Russian  onslaught,  at  least  to  save  the  largest  part 
of  their  armies.  Even  at  that  the  Russian  General  Staff  claimed 
to  have  captured  by  June  12,  1916,  a  total  of  1,700  officers  and 
114,000  men.  Inasmuch  as  it  was  estimated  that  the  total  Aus- 
trian forces  on  the  southwestern  front  at  the  beginning  of  the 
operations  were  670,000,  of  which,  according  to  Russian  claims, 
the  losses  cannot  be  less  than  200,000,  including  an  estimated 
80,000  killed  and  wounded,  the  total  losses  now  constituted  30 
per  cent  of  the  enemy's  effectives. 

How  the  news  of  the  continued  Russian  successes  was  received 
in  the  empire's  capital  and  what,  at  that  time,  was  expected  aa 
the  immediate  results  of  this  remarkable  drive,  secondary  only 
to  the  Austro-German  drive  of  the  summer  and  fall  of  1915, 
are  vividly  described  in  the  following  letter,  written  from  Petro- 
grad  on  June  13, 1916,  by  a  special  correspondent  of  the  London 
"Times" : 

"As  the  successive  bulletins  recording  our  unprecedented  vic- 
tories on  the  southwestern  fronts  come  to  hand,  the  pride  and 
joy  of  the  Russian  people  are  becoming  too  great  for  adequate 
expression.  There  is  an  utter  absence  of  noisy  demonstrations. 
The  whole  nation  realizes  that  the  victory  is  the  result  of  the 
combined  efforts  of  all  classes,  which  have  given  the  soldiers 
abundant  munitions,  and  of  an  admirable  organization. 

"The  remarkable  progress  in  training  the  reserves  since  the 
beginning  of  this  year  was  primarily  responsible  for  the  enor- 
mous increase  in  the  efficiency  of  our  armies  and  the  heightening 
of  their  morale.    The  strategy  of  our  southwestern  offensive  has 

166  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

been  seconded  by  a  remarkable  improvement  in  the  railways  and 
communications.  Last,  but  not  least,  it  must  be  noted  that  the 
Russian  high  command  long  ago  recognized  that  the  essential 
condition  of  the  overthrow  of  the  Austro-German  league,  so  far 
as  this  front  is  concerned,  was  the  completion  of  the  work  of 
disintegration  in  the  Austrian  armies,  in  which  Russia  has  al- 
ready achieved  such  wonderful  results.  At  the  rate  at  which 
they  are  at  present  being  exterminated  it  would  require  many 
weeks  completely  to  exhaust  the  military  resources  of  the  Dual 
Empire  and  to  turn  the  flank  of  the  German  position  in  Poland. 

"The  consensus  of  military  opinion  is  inclined  to  the  belief  that 
the  Germans  will  not  venture  to  transfer  large  reenforcements 
to  the  Galician  front,  as  it  would  require  too  much  time  and  give 
the  Allies  a  distinct  advantage  in  other  theaters.  But  as  the 
Germans  were  obviously  bound  to  do  something  to  save  the  Aus- 
trian army,  they  are  endeavoring  to  create  a  diversion  north  of 
the  Pripet  in  various  directions.  The  points  selected  for  these 
efforts  are  almost  equidistant  on  the  right  flank  of  the  Riga 
front,  near  Jacobstadt,  and  south  of  Lake  Drisviaty,  where  the 
enemy's  maximum  activity  synchronized  with  General  Lechit- 
sky's  greatest  successes  on  the  southern  front.  .  .  . 

"On  the  southwestern  front  all  eyes  are  now  focused  on  Gen- 
eral Lechitsky's  rapid  advance  on  Zaleszcyky  and  Czemowita. 
As  the  official  reports  show,  the  Austrians  have  already  blown  up 
a  bridge  across  the  Pruth  at  Mahala,  thus  indicating  that  they  en- 
tertain scant  hope  of  being  able  to  hold  Czemowitz,.and  they  may 
even  now  be  evacuating  the  city.  General  Lechitsky's  gallant 
army,  which  some  months  ago  stormed  the  important  stronghold 
of  Uscieszko  on  the  Dniester,  has  performed  prodigies  of  valor  in 
its  advance  during  the  last  few  days.  The  precipitous  banks  of 
the  Dniester  had  been  converted  into  one  continuous  stronghold 
which  appeared  impregnable  and  last  December  defied  all  our 
efforts  to  overcome  the  enemy's  resistance.  In  the  first  few  days 
of  the  offensive  we  took  one  of  the  principal  positions  between 
Okna  and  Dobronowce,  southeast  of  Zaleszcyky.  Dobronowce 
and  the  surrounding  mountains,  which  are  thickly  covered  with 
forests,  were  regarded  by  the  enemy  as  a  reliable  protection 


against  any  advance  on  Czernowitz.  The  country  beyond  offers 
no  such  opportunities  for  defense. 

''General  Brussilov's  operations  on  the  flanks  of  the  Austro- 
German  army  under  Von  Linsingen  are  proceeding  with  won- 
derful rapidity.  All  the  efforts  of  German  reenforcements  to 
drive  in  a  counterwedge  at  Kolki,  Rozhishshe  and  Targowica, 
at  the  wings  and  apex  of  our  Rovno  salient,  proved  ineffectual. 
On  the  other  hand,  we  have  scored  most  important  successes  west 
of  Dubno,  capturing  the  highly  important  point  of  Demidovka, 
marking  an  advance  of  twenty  miles  to  the  west.  Demidovka 
places  us  in  command  of  the  important  forest  region  of  Dubno, 
which,  as  its  name  indicates,  is  famous  for  its  oak  trees.  These 
forests  form  a  natural  stronghold,  of  which  the  Ikva  and  the 
Styr  may  be  compared  to  immense  moats  protecting  it  on  two 
sides.  The  possession  of  this  valuable  base  will  enable  General 
Brussilov  to  checkmate  any  further  effort  on  the  part  of  the 
enemy  to  counter  our  offensive  at  Targowica,  which  is  situated 
fifteen  miles  to  the  north. 

"The  valiant  troops  of  our  Eighth  Army,  who  have  altogether 
advanced  nearly  thirty  miles  into  the  enemy's  position  in  the 
direction  of  Kovel,  will  doubtless  be  in  a  position  powerfully  to 
assist  the  thrust  of  the  troops  beyond  Tarnopol  and  join  hands 
with  them  in  the  possible  event  of  an  advance  on  Lemberg." 

On  June  13, 1914,  the  progress  of  the  Russian  armies  continued 
along  the  entire  250-mile  front  from  the  Pripet  River  to  the 
Rumanian  border.  The  capture  of  twenty  officers,  6,000  men, 
six  cannon,  and  ten  machine  guns  brought  the  total,  captured  by 
the  Russian  troops,  up  to  about  120,000  men,  1,720  officers,  130 
cannon  and  260  machine  guns,  besides  immense  quantities  of 
material  and  munitions. 

South  of  Kovel  the  Austrians,  reenforced  by  German  troops, 
offered  the  most  determined  resistance  near  the  village  of  Zaturzi 
halfway  between  Lutsk  and  Vladimir- Volyn«ki.  Southwest  of 
Dubno,  in  the  direction  of  Brody  and  Lemberg,  Kozin  was  stormed 
by  the  Russians,  who  were  now  only  ten  miles  from  the  Galician 
border.  To  the  north  of  Buczacz,  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Strypa,  a  strong  counterattack  launched  by  the  Austrians  could 


not  prevent  the  Russians  from  occupying  the  western  heights  in 
the  region  of  Gaivivonka  and  Bobulintze,  where  only  two  days 
before  the  Austrians  had  been  able  to  drive  back  their  oppo- 
nents. But  the  most  furious  battle  of  all  raged  for  the  possession 
of  Czemowitz.  A  serious  blow  was  struck  to  the  Austro-Hun- 
garian  defenders  when  the  Russians  captured  the  town  of 
Sniatyn,  on  the  Pruth,  about  twenty  miles  northwest  of  Czer- 
nowitz,  on  the  Czemowitz-Kolomea-Lemberg  railway.  This  seri- 
ously threatened  the  brave  garrison  which  held  the  capital  of 
the  Bukowina,  as  it  put  the  Russians  in  a  position  where 
they  could  sweep  southward  and  cut  off  the  defenders  of  Czer- 
nowitz,  if  they  should  hold  out  to  the  last.  In  fact  the  entire 
Austro-Hungarian  army  in  the  Bukowina  was  now  facing  this 

The  first  massed  attack  against  Von  Hindenburg's  lines  since 
the  offensive  in  the  south  began  was  delivered  on  June  18,  1916, 
when,  after  a  systematic  artillery  preparation  by  the  heaviest 
guns  at  the  Russians'  disposal,  troops  in  dense  formation 
launched  a  furious  assault  against  the  Austro-German  positions 
north  of  Baranovitchy.  The  attack  was  repeated  six  times,  but 
each  broke  down  under  the  Teuton  fire  with  serious  losses  to  the 
attackers,  who  in  their  retreat  were  placed  under  the  fire  of 
their  own  artillery. 

Baranovitchy  is  an  important  railway  intersection  of  great 
strategical  value  and  saw  some  of  the  fiercest  fighting  during 
the  Russian  retreat  in  the  fall  of  1915.  It  is  the  converging 
point  of  the  Brest-Litovsk-Moscow  and  Vilna-Rovno  railways. 
Sixty-one  miles  to  the  west  lies  Lida,  one  of  the  commanding 
points  of  the  entire  railway  systems  of  western  Russia. 

Again,  on  June  14,  1916,  the  number  of  prisoners  in  the  hands 
of  the  Russians  was  increased  by  100  officers  and  14,000  men, 
bringing  the  grand  total  up  to  over  150,000.  All  along  the  entire 
front  the  Russians  pressed  their  advance,  gaining  considerable 
ground,  without,  however,  achieving  any  success  of  great  im- 

Closer  and  closer  the  lines  were  drawn  about  Czemowitz, 
though  on  June  16,  1916,  the  city  was  still  reported  as  held  by 


the  Austrians.  On  that  day  furious  fighting  also  took  place 
south  of  Buczacz,  where  the  Russians  in  vain  attempted  to  cross 
the  Dniester  in  order  to  join  hands  with  their  forces  which  were 
advancing  from  the  north  against  Czemowitz  with  Horodenka, 
on  the  south  bank  of  the  Dniester  as  a  base.  To  the  west  of 
Lutsk  in  the  direction  toward  Kovel,  now  apparently  the  main 
objective  of  General  Brussilov,  the  Austro-Hungarians  had  re- 
ceived strong  German  reenforcements  under  General  von  Lin- 
singen  and  successfully  denied  to  the  Russians  a  crossing  over 
the  Stokhod  and  Styr  Rivers. 

June  17,  1916,  was  a  banner  day  in  the  calendar  of  the  Rus- 
sian troops.  It  brought  them  once  more  into  possession  of  the 
Bukowinian  capital,  Czemowitz. 

Czemowitz  is  one  of  the  towns  whose  people  have  suffered  most 
severely  from  the  fluctuating  tide  of  war. 

Its  cosmopolitan  population,  the  greater  part  of  whom  are 
Germans,  have  seen  it  change  hands  no  less  than  five  times  in 
twenty-one  months.  The  first  sweep  of  the  Russian  offensive  in 
September,  1914,  carried  beyond  it,  but  they  had  to  capture  it 
again  two  months  later,  when  they  proceeded  to  drive  the  Aus- 
trians out  of  the  whole  of  the  Bukowina.  By  the  following  Feb- 
ruary, however,  the  Austrians,  with  German  troops  to  help 
them,  were  again  at  its  gates,  and  they  forced  the  Russians  to 
retire  beyond  the  Pruth.  For  a  week  the  battle  raged  about  the 
small  town  of  Sudagora,  opposite  Czemowitz,  the  seat  of  a  fa- 
mous dynasty  of  miracle-working  rabbis,  but  the  forces  of  the 
Central  Powers  were  in  overwhelming  numbers,  and  with  the 
loss  of  Kolomea — ^the  railway  junction  forty-five  miles  to  the 
west,  which  the  Russians  were  again  rapidly  approaching — 
the  whole  region  became  untenable  and  the  Russians  retired  to 
the  frontier. 

Czemowitz  is  a  clean  and  pleasant  town  of  recent  date.  A 
century  ago  it  was  an  insignificant  village  of  5,000  people.  To- 
day it  has  several  fine  buildings,  the  most  conspicuous  of  which  is 
the  Episcopal  Palace,  with  a  magnificent  reception  hall.  In  one 
of  the  squares  stands  the  monument  erected  in  1875  to  commem- 
orate the  Austrian  occupation  of  the  Bukowina. 

170  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  population  consists  for  the  most  part  of  Germans,  Rw- 
thenes,  Rumanians,  and  Poles.  Among  these  are  21,000  Jews 
and  there  are  also  a  number  of  Armenians  and  gypsies.  Witk 
all  these  diverse  elements,  therefore,  the  town  presents  a  very 
varied  appearance,  and  on  market  days  the  modern  streets  are 
crowded  with  peasants,  attired  in  their  national  dress,  who 
mingle  with  people  turned  out  in  the  latest  fashions  of  Paris 
and  Vienna. 

How  violently  the  Russians  assaulted  Czemowitz  is  vividly 
described  in  a  letter  from  a  correspondent  of  a  German  news- 
paper who  was  at  Czernowitz  during  this  attack. 

"The  attack  began  on  June  11,  1916.  Shells  fell  incessantly, 
mostly  in  the  lower  quarter  of  the  town  and  the  neighborhood 
of  the  station.  They  caused  a  terrible  panic.  Incendiary  shells 
started  many  fires. 

"Austrian  artillery  replied  vigorously.  The  Russians  during 
the  night  of  June  12,  1916,  attempted  a  surprise  attack  aga'inst 
the  northeast  corner  defenses,  launching  a  tremendous  artillery 
fire  against  them  and  then  sending  storming  columns  forward. 
These  were  stopped,  however,  by  the  defenders,  who  prevented 
a  crossing  of  the  Pruth,  inflicting  severe  losses  upon  the 

"The  Russian  artillery  attack  on  the  morning  of  June  16, 1916, 
was  terrific.  It  resembled  a  thousand  volcanoes  belching  fire. 
The  whole  town  shook.  Austrian  guns  replied  with  equal  inten- 
sity. The  Russians  advanced  in  sixteen  waves  and  were  mown 
down  and  defeated.  Hundreds  were  drowned.  Russian  columns 
were  continually  pushed  back  from  the  Pruth  beyond  Sudagora.*' 

Serious,  though,  this  loss  was  to  the  Central  Powers,  they  had 
one  consolation  left.  JBefore  the  fall  of  Czemowitz  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  forces  were  able  to  withdraw  and  only  about  1,000 
men  fell  into  Russian  captivity.  In  one  respect  then  the  Rus- 
sians had  not  gained  their  point.  The  Austrian  army  in  the 
Bukowina  was  still  in  the  field. 

Slowly  but  steadily  the  force  of  Von  Hindenburg's  offensive 
in  the  north  increased.  On  the  dry  on  which  Czernowitz  fell  at- 
tacks were  delivered  at  mar'^'-  points  along  the  150-mile  line  be- 


tween  Dvinsk  in  the  north  and  Krevo  in  the  south.  Some  local 
successes  were  gained  by  the  Germans,  but  generally  speaking 
this  offensive  movement  failed  in  its  chief  purpose,  namely,  to 
lessen  the  strength  of  the  Russian  attack  against  the  Austrian 

A  more  substantial  gain  was  made  by  the  combined  German 
and  Austro-Hungarian  forces,  opposing  the  Russians  west  of 
Lutsk,  in  order  to  stop  their  advance  against  Kovel.  There  the 
Germans  drove  back  the  center  of  General  Brussilov's  front  and 
captured  3,500  men,  11  officers,  some  cannon,  and  10  machine 

On  the  day  of  Czernowitz's  fall  the  official  English  newspaper 
representative  with  the  Russian  armies  of  General  Brussilov  se- 
cured a  highly  interesting  statement  from  this  Russian  general 
who,  by  his  remarkable  success,  had  so  suddenly  become  one  of 
the  most  famous  figures  of  the  great  war. 

"The  sweeping  successes  attained  by  my  armies  are  not  the 
product  of  chance,  or  of  Austrian  weakness,  but  represent  the 
application  of  all  the  lessons  which  we  have  learned  in  two  years 
of  bitter  warfare  against  the  Germans.  In  every  movement,  great 
or  small,  that  we  have  made  this  winter,  we  have  been  studying 
the  best  methods  of  handling  the  new  problems  which  modern 
warfare  presents. 

"At  the  beginning  of  the  war,  and  especially  last  summer,  we 
lacked  the  preparations  which  the  Germans  have  been  making 
for  the  past  fifty  years.  Personally  I  was  not  discouraged,  for 
my  faith  in  Russian  troops  and  Russian  character  is  an  enduring 
one.  I  was  convinced  that,  given  the  munitions,  we  should  do 
exactly  as  we  have  done  in  the  past  two  weeks. 

"The  main  element  of  our  success  was  due  to  the  absolute 
coordination  of  all  the  armies  involved  and  the  carefully  planned 
harmony  with  which  the  various  branches  of  the  service  sup- 
ported each  other. 

"On  our  entire  front  the  attack  began  at  the  same  hour  and  it 
was  impossible  for  the  enemy  to  shift  his  troops  from  one  quarter 
to  another,  as  our  attacks  were  being  pressed  equally  at  all 

172  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"The  most  important  fighting  has  been  in  the  sector  between 
Rovno,  and  here  we  have  made  our  greatest  advances,  which  are 
striking  more  seriously  at  the  strategy  of  the  whole  enemy  front 
in  the  east. 

"If  we  are  able  to  take  Kovel  there  is  reason  to  believe  that 
the  whole  eastern  front  will  be  obliged  to  fall  back,  as  Kovel 
represents  a  railway  center  which  has  been  extraordinarily  use- 
ful for  the  intercommunications  of  the  Germans  and  Austrians. 

"That  this  menace  is  fully  realized  by  the  enemy  is  obvious 
from  the  fact  that  the  Germans  are  supporting  this  sector  with 
all  the  available  troops  that  can  be  rushed  up.  Some  are  coming 
from  the  west  and  some  from  points  on  the  eastern  front  to  the 
north  of  us. 

"In  all  of  this  fighting  the  Russian  infantry  has  proved  itself 
sujperb,  with  a  morale  which  is  superior  even  to  that  of  1914, 
when  we  were  sweeping  through  Galicia  for  the  first  time.  This 
is  largely  due  to  the  fact  that  the  army  now  represents  the  feel- 
ing of  the  whole  people  of  Russia,  who  are  united  in  their  desire 
to  carry  the  war  to  its  final  and  sutcessful  conclusion." 

To  the  question  how  he  had  been  able  to  make  such  huge  cap- 
tures of  prisoners  the  Russian  general  replied: 

'•'The  nature  of  modem  trenches,  which  makes  them  with  their 
deep  tunnels  and  maze  of  communications,  so  difficult  to  destroy, 
renders  them  a  menace  to  their  own  defenders  once  their  posi- 
tion is  taken  in  rear  or  flank,  for  it  is  impossible  to  escape 
quickly  from  these  elaborate  networks  of  defenses. 

"Besides,  we  have  for  the  first  time  had  sufficient  ammunition 
to  enable  us  to  use  curtain  fire  for  preventing  the  enemy  from 
retiring  from  his  positions,  save  through  a  scathing  zone  of 
shrapnel  fire,  which  tenders  surrender  imperative." 




ANOTHER  very  interesting  account  of  conditions  along  the 
'-southeastern  front  can  be  found  in  a  letter  from  the  Petro- 
grad  correspondent  of  a  London  daily  newspaper,  who  spent 
considerable  time  in  Tarnopol,  a  city  which  had  been  in  the  hands 
of  the  Russians  ever  since  the  early  part  of  the  war: 

"We  are  in  Austria  here,  but  no  one  who  was  plumped  down 
into  Tarnopol,  say  from  an  aeroplane,  would  ever  guess  it.  Not 
only  are  the  streets  full  of  Russian  soldiers:  all  the  names  on 
the  shop  fronts  are  in  Russian  characters.  The  hotels  have 
changed  their  styles  and  titles.  The  notices  posted  up  in  public 
places  are  Russian.  Everywhere  Russian  (of  a  kind)  is  talked. 
German,  the  official  language  of  Austria,  is  neither  heard  nor 

"It  is  true  that  this  part  of  Galicia  has  been  in  the  possession 
of  Russia  since  the  early  days  of  the  war.  Even  so,  it  is  a 
surprise  to  find  a  population  so  accommodating. 

"The  people  in  this  part  of  Austria  are  Poles,  Ruthenes  and 
Jews.  Polish  belongs  to  the  same  family  of  languages  as  Rus- 
sian, and  the  Poles  are  Slavs.  So  are  the  Ruthenes,  whose  speech 
is  almost  identical  with  that  of  southwestern  Russia.  They  are 
very  like  the  'Little'  Russians,  so  called  to  distinguish  them 
from  the  people  of  'Great*  Russia  on  the  north.  They  live  in 
the  same  neat,  thatched  and  whitewashed  cottages.  They  have 
the  same  gayly  colored  national  costumes  still  in  wear,  and  the 
same  fairy  tales,  the  same  merry  lilting  songs,  so  different  from 
the  melancholy  strains  of  northern  folk  music.  Almost  the  same 

"The  finest  churches  in  Tarnopol  belong  to  the  Poles,  who  are 
Roman  Catholics.  The  Russian  soldiers,  many  of  them,  seem 
to  find  the  Roman  mass  quite  as  comforting  as  their  Orthodox 
rite.  They  stand  and  listen  to  it  humbly,  crossing  themselves  in 
eastern  fashion,  only  caring  to  know  that  God  is  being  wor- 

174  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

shiped  in  more  or  less  the  same  fashion  as  that  to  which  they 
are  accustomed.  But  in  the  Ruthenian  churches  they  find  ex- 
actly the  same  ritual  as  their  own.  With  their  blood  relations 
they  are  upon  family  terms.  There  was  an  interesting  exhibi- 
tion in  Petrograd  last  year  illustrating  the  Russian  racial  traits 
in  the  Ruthenian  population.  Down  here  one  recognizes  these 
at  once. 

"No  clearer  proof  could  be  found  of  the  gentle,  kindly  char- 
acter of  the  Russians  than  the  attitude  toward  them  of  the 
Austrian  Slavs  generally.  At  a  point  close  to  the  firing  line, 
early  this  morning,  I  saw  three  Austrian  prisoners  who  had 
been  'captured'  during  the  night.  They  had,  in  point  of  fact, 
given  themselves  up.  They  were  Serbs  from  Bosnia,  and  they 
were  quite  happy  to  be  in  Russian  hands.  I  saw  them  again 
later  in  the  day  on  their  way  to  the  rear,  sitting  by  the  road- 
side smoking  cigarettes  which  their  escort  had  given  them.  Cap- 
tives and  guardians  were  on  the  best  of  terms. 

"The  only  official  evidences  of  occupation  which  I  noticed 
are  notices  announcing  that  restaurants  and  cafes  close  at  11, 
and  that  there  must  be  no  loud  talking  or  playing  of  instruments 
in  hotels  after  10 — an  edict  for  which  I  feel  profoundly  grateful. 
Signs  of  peaceful  penetration  are  to  be  found  everywhere.  The 
samovar  (urn  for  making  tea)  has  become  an  institution  in 
Galician  hotels.  The  main  street  is  pervaded  by  small  boys  sell- 
ing Russian  newspapers  or  making  a  good  thing  out  of  cleaning 
the  high  Russian  military  'sapogee'  (top  boots).  They  get  five 
cents  for  a  penny  paper  and  ninepence  or  a  shilling  for  boot- 
blacking,  but  considering  the  mud  of  Galicia  (I  have  been  up 
to  my  boot  tops — ^that  is,  up  to  my  knees — in  it),  the  charge 
is  not  too  heavy,  especially  if  the  unusual  dearness  of  living  be 
taken  into  account. 

"Very  gay  this  main  street  is  of  an  afternoon,  crowded  with 
officers,  who  come  in  from  the  trenches  to  enjoy  life.  A  very 
pleasant  Jot  of  young  fellows  they  are,  and  very  easily  pleased. 
One  I  met  invited  me  to  midday  tea  in  his  bombproof  shelter  in 
a  forward  trench.  I  accepted  gratefully  and  found  him  a  charm- 
ingly gay  host.    He  took  a  childlike  pleasure  in  showing  me  all 





















eE  N .  CH  ER  BACH  E V  S 



HUSIATYN         c* 



Vn      V            k 

lO  %o  30 

-«-v-  R  A  LROAD  & 
nnn   battle  i_«ne 
-  w)UNE  5.  1916 

^^^^AUGUST  15.  I9I6 

OUtME     »9I6 

L— War  St  5 

176  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  conveniences  he  had  fitted  up,  and  kept  on  saying,  *Ah,  how 
comfortable  and  peaceful  it  is  here,'  with  the  sound  of  rifle 
shots  and  hand  grenade  and  mine  explosions  in  our  ears  all  the 

"From  highest  to  lowest,  almost  all  the  Russian  officers  I  have 
met  are  friendly  and  unassuming.  The  younger  ones  are  de- 
lightful. There  is  no  drink  to  be  had  here,  and  therefore  no 
foolish,  tipsy  loudness  or  quarreling  among  them.'* 

On  June  18,  1916,  further  progress  and  additional  large  cap- 
tures of  Austro-Hungarian  and  German  prisoners  were  reported 
by  the  Russian  armies  fighting  in  Volhynia,  Galicia,  and  the 
Bukowina.  However,  both  the  amount  of  ground  gained  and 
the  number  of  prisoners  taken  were  very  much  slighter  than 
\iad  been  the  case  during  the  earlier  part  of  the  Russian  of- 
fensive. This  was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  armies  of  the  Central 
Powers  had  received  strong  reenforcements  and  had  apparently 
succeeded  in  strengthening  their  new  positions  and  in  stiffening 
their  resistance.  Powerful  counterattacks  were  launched  at 
many  points. 

One  of  these,  according  to  the  Russian  official  statement,  was 
of  special  vigor.  It  was  directed  against  General  Brussilov's 
armies  which  were  attempting  to  advance  toward  Lemberg,  in  the 
region  of  the  village  of  Rogovitz  to  the  southwest  of  Lokatchi, 
about  four  miles  to  the  south  of  the  main  road  from  Lutsk  to 
Vladimir- Volynski.  There  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces  in  large 
numbers  attacked  in  massed  formation  and  succeeded  in  break- 
ing through  the  Russian  front,  capturing  three  guns  after  all 
the  men  and  officers  in  charge  of  them  had  been  killed.  The 
Russians,  however,  brought  up  strong  reenforcements  and  made 
it  necessary  for  the  Austro-Hungarians  to  withdraw,  captur- 
ing at  the  same  time  some  hundred  prisoners,  one  cannon,  and 
two  machine  guns. 

At  another  point  of  this  sector  in  the  region  of  Korytynitzky, 
southeast  of  Svinioukhi,  a  Russian  regiment,  strongly  supported 
by  machine-gun  batteries,  inflicted  heavy  losses  on  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  and  captured  four  officers,  a  hundred  soldiers, 
and  four  machine  guns. 


South  of  this  region,  just  to  the  east  of  BorohofF,  a  desperate 
fight  developed  for  the  possession  of  a  dense  wood  near  the  vil- 
lage of  Bojeff,  which,  after  the  most  furious  resistance,  had  to  be 
cleared  finally  by  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces,  which,  during  this 
engagement,  suffered  large  losses  in  killed  and  wounded,  and  fur- 
thermore lost  one  thousand  prisoners  and  four  machine  guns. 

At  still  another  point  on  this  part  of  the  front,  just  south  of 
Radziviloff,  a  Russian  attack  was  resisted  most  vigorously  and 
heavy  losses  were  inflicted  on  the  attacking  regiments.  Here,  as 
well  as  in  other  places,  the  Austro-Hungarian-German  forces 
employed  all  possible  means  to  stem  the  Russian  onrush,  and 
a  large  part  of  the  losses  suffered  by  General  Brussilov's  regi- 
ments was  due  to  the  extensive  use  of  liquid  fire. 

The  troops  of  General  Lechitsky's  command,  after  the  occu- 
pation of  Czernowitz,  crossed  the  river  Pruth  at  many  points 
and  came  frequently  in  close  touch  with  the  rear  guard  of  the 
retreating  Austro-Hungarian  army.  During  the  process  of  these 
engagements,  about  fifty  officers  and  more  than  fifteen  hundred 
men,  as  well  as  ten  guns,  were  captured.  Near  Koutchournare, 
four  hundred  more  men  and  some  guns  of  heavy  caliber,  as  well 
as  large  amounts  of  munitions  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Russian 
forces.  The  latter  claimed  also  at  this  point  the  capture  of  im- 
mense amounts  of  provisions  and  forage,  loaded  on  almost  one 
thousand  wagons.  At  various  other  points  west  and  north  of 
Czernowitz,  large  quantities  of  engineering  material  had  to  be 
left  behind  at  railroad  stations  by  the  retreating  Austro-Hun- 
garian army  and  thus  easily  became  the  booty  of  the  victorious 

Farther  to  the  north,  along  the  Styr,  to  the  west  of  Kolki,  in 
the  region  of  the  Kovel-Rovno  Railway,  General  von  Linsingen's 
Austro-German  army  group  successfully  resisted  Russian  at- 
tacks at  some  points,  launched  strong  counterattacks  at  other 
points,  but  had  to  fall  back  before  superior  Russian  forces  at 
still  other  points. 

In  the  northern  sector  of  the  eastern  front,  along  the  Dvina, 
activity  was  restricted  to  extensive  artillery  duels  during  this 

178         -    THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 


THE     GERMAN      C  0  U  NT  E  RO  PPE  N  S  I  VE 

AN  extensive  offensive  movement  was  developed  on  June  19, 
-1916,  by  General  von  Linsingen.  The  object  of  this  move- 
ment apparently  was  not  only  to  secure  the  safety  of  Kovel,  but 
also  to  threaten  General  Brussilov's  army  by  an  enveloping 
movement  which,  if  it  had  succeeded,  would  not  only  have  pushed 
the  Russian  center  back  beyond  Lutsk  and  even  possibly  Dubno, 
but  would  also  have  exposed  the  entire  Russian  forces,  fighting  in 
Galicia  and  the  Bukowina,  to  the  danger  of  being  cut  off  from 
the  troops  battling  in  Volhynia.  This  movement  developed  in 
the  triangle  formed  by  the  Kovel-Raf alovka  railroad  in  the  north, 
the  Kovel-Rozishtchy  railroad  in  the  south,  and  the  Styr  River 
between  these  two  places.  The  severest  fighting  in  this  sector 
occurred  along  the  Styr  between  Kolki  and  Sokal. 

On  the  other  hand  Russians  scored  a  decided  success  in  the 
southern  comer  of  the  Bukowina  where  a  crossing  of  the  Sereth 
River  was  successfully  negotiated.  ' 

Artillery  duels  again  were  fought  along  the  Dvina  front  as 
well  as  along  the  Dvina- Vilia  sector.  In  the  latter  region  a  num- 
ber of  engagements  took  place  south  of  Smorgon,  near  Kary  and 
Tanoczyn,  where  German  troops  captured  some  hundreds  of 
Russians  as  well  as  four  machine  guns  and  four  mine  throwers. 
A  Russian  aeroplane  was  compelled  to  land  west  of  Kolodont, 
south  of  Lake  Narotch,  while  German  aeroplanes  successfully 
bombarded  the  railroad  station  at  Vileika  on  the  Molodetchna- 
Polotsk  railway. 

With  ever  increasing  fury  the  battle  raged  along  the  Styr 
River  on  the  following  day,  June  20,  1916.  Both  sides  won  local 
successes  at  various  points,  but  the  outstanding  feature  of  that 
day's  fighting  was  the  fact  that  in  spite  of  the  most  heroic  efforts 
the  Russian  troops  were  unable  to  advance  any  farther  toward 
Kovel.    Ten  miles  west  of  Kolki  the  Russians  succeeded  in  cross- 


of  Gruziatin,  two  miles  north  of  Godomitchy,  the  small  German 
garrison  of  which,  consisting  of  some  five  hundred  officers  and 
men,  fell  into  Russian  captivity.  Only  a  short  time  later,  on  the 
same  day,, heavy  German  batteries  concentrated  such  a  furious 
fire  on  the  Russian  troops  occupying  the  village  that  they  had  to 
withdraw  and  permit  the  Germans  once  more  to  occupy  Gru- 
ziatin.  How  furious  the  fighting  in  this  one  small  section  must 
have  been  that  day  may  readily  be  seen  from  the  fact  that  the 
German  official  statement  claimed  a  total  of  over  twenty  thou- 
sand men  to  have  been  lost  by  the  Russians. 

Hardly  less  severe  was  the  fighting  which  developed  along  the 
Stokhod  River.  This  is  a  southern  tributary  of  the  Pripet  River, 
joining  it  about  thirty  miles  west  of  the  mouth  of  the  Styr.  It 
is  cut  by  both  the  Kovel-Rovno  and  the  Kovel-Rafalovka  rail- 
ways, and  forms  a  strong  natural  line  of  defense  west  of  Kovel. 
In  spite  of  the  most  desperate  efforts  on  the  part  of  large  Russian 
forces  to  cross  this  river,  near  the  village  of  Vorontchin  north- 
east of  Kieslin,  the  German  resistance  was  so  tenacious  that  the 
Russians  were  unable  to  make  any  progress.  Large  numbers  of 
guns  of  all  calibers  had  been  massed  here  and  inflicted  heavy 
losses  to  the  czar's  regiments.  Another  furious  engagement  in 
this  region  occurred  during  the  night  near  the  village  of  Ray- 
niesto  on  the  Stokhod  River. 

To  the  north  heavy  fighting  again  developed  south  of  Smorgon, 
where,  with  the  coming  of  night,  the  Germans  directed  a  very 
intense  bombardment  against  the  Russian  lines.  Again  and 
again  this  was  followed  up  with  infantry  attacks,  which  in  some 
instances  resulted  in  the  penetrating  of  the  Russian  trenches, 
while  in  others  it  led  to  sanguinary  hand-to-hand  fighting.  How- 
ever, the  Russian  batteries  likewise  hurled  their  death-dealing 
missiles  in  large  numbers  and  exacted  a  terrific  toll  from  the 
ranks  of  the  attacking  Germans.  Along  the  balance  of  the  north- 
em  half  of  the  front  a  serious  artillery  duel  again  was  fought, 
which  was  especially  intense  in  the  region  of  the  Uxkull  bridge- 
head, in  the  northern  sector  of  the  Jacobstadt  positions  and  along 
the  Oginsky  Canal. 

German  aeroplane  squadrons  repeated  their  activity  of  the 

180  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

day  before  and  successfully  bombarded  the  railroad  stations  at 
Vileika,  Molodetchna,  and  Zalyessie. 

The  well-known  English  journalist,  Mr.  Stanley  Washburn, 
acted  at  this  time  as  special  correspondent  of  the  London  *Times" 
at  Russian  headquarters  and  naturally  had  exceptional  oppor- 
tunities for  observing  conditions  at  the  front.  Some  of  his  de- 
scriptions of  the  territory  across  which  the  Russians*  advance 
was  carried  out,  as  well  as  of  actual  fighting  which  he  observed 
at  close  quarters,  therefore,  give  us  a  most  vivid  picture  of  the 
difficulties  under  which  the  Russian  victories  were  achieved  and 
of  the  tenacity  and  courage  which  the  Austro-German  troops 
showed  in  their  resistance. 

Of  the  Volhynian  fortress  of  Lutsk,  as  it  appeared  in  the 
second  half  of  June,  1916,  he  says : 

"This  town  to-day  is  a  veritable  maelstrom  of  war.  From  not 
many  miles  away,  by  night  and  by  day,  comes  an  almost  uninter- 
rupted roar  of  heavy  gunfire,  and  all  day  long  the  main  street 
is  filled  with  the  rumble  and  clatter  of  caissons,  guns,  and  trans- 
ports going  forward  on  one  side,  while  on  the  other  side  is  an 
unending  line  of  empty  caissons  returning,  mingled  with 
wounded  coming  back  in  every  conceivable  form  of  vehicle,  and 
in  among  these  at  breakneck  speed  dart  motorcycles  carrying 
dispatches  from  the  front. 

"The  weather  is  dry  and  hot,  and  the  lines  of  the  road  are 
visible  for  miles  by  the  clouds  of  dust  from  the  plodding  feet 
3f  the  soldiery  and  the  transport.  As  the  retreat  from  Warsaw 
was  a  review  of  the  Russian  armies  in  reverse,  so  is  Lutsk  to-day 
a  similar  spectacle  of  the  Muscovite  armies  advancing ;  but  now 
all  filled  with  high  hopes  and  their  morale  is  at  the  highest 

"Along  the  entire  front  the  contending  armies  are  locked  in  a 
fierce,  ceaseless  struggle.  No  hour  of  the  day  passes  when  there 
is  not  somewhere  an  attack  or  a  counterattack  going  forward 
with  a  bitterness  and  ferocity  unknown  since  the  beginning  of 
the  war.  The  troops  coming  from  Germany  are  rendering  the 
Russian  advance  difficult,  and  the  general  nature  of  the  fighting 
is  defense  by  vigorous  counterattacks." 


Of  the  fighting  along  the  Kovel  front  he  says :  "The  story  of 
the  fighting  on  the  Kovel  front  is  a  narrative  of  a  heroic  advance 
which  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet  steadily  forced  back  through 
barrier  after  barrier  the  stubborn  resistance  of  the  Austrians, 
intermingled  occasionally  with  German  units,  till  at  one  point 
the  advance  measured  forty-eight  miles. 

"After  two  days  spent  on  the  front  I  can  state  without  any 
reservation  that  I  believe  that  the  Russians  are  engaged  in  the 
fiercest  and  most  courageous  fight  of  their  entire  war,  hanging 
on  to  their  hardly  won  positions  and  often  facing  troops  con- 
centrated on  the  strategic  points  of  the  line  outnumbering  them 
sometimes  by  three  to  one. 

"I  spent  Thursday  at  an  advanced  position  on  the  Styr,  where 
the  Russian  troops  earlier  forced  a  crossing  of  the  river,  facing 
a  terrific  fire,  and  turning  the  enemy  out  of  his  positions  at  the 
point  of  the  bayonet.  In  hurriedly  dug  positions  offering  the 
most  meager  kind  of  shelter,  the  Russians  in  one  morning 
drove  back  four  consecutive  Austrian  counterattacks.  Each  left 
the  field  thickly  studded  with  Austrian  dead,  besides  hundreds 
of  their  wounded  who  had  been  left. 

"From  an  observation  point  in  the  village  I  studied  the  ground 
of  the  day's  fighting,  and  though  familiar  with  Russian  courage 
and  tenacity,  I  found  it  difficult  to  realize  that  human  beings  had 
been  able  to  carry  the  positions  which  the  Russians  carried  here. 

"I  was  obliged  to  curtail  my  study  of  the  enemy's  lines  and 
of  the  position  on  account  of  the  extremely  local  artillery  fire, 
the  shells  endeavoring  to  locate  our  observation  point,  which 
was  evidently  approximately  known.  At  any  rate,  two  shells 
bursting  over  us  and  one  narrowly  missing  our  waiting  carriage, 
besides  three  others  falling  in  the  mud  almost  at  our  feet, 
prompted  our  withdrawal.  Fortunately  the  last  three  had  fallen 
in  the  mud  and  did  not  explode. 

"Along  this  front  the  Russians  are  holding  against  heavy  odds, 
but  they  are  certainly  inflicting  greater  losses  than  they  are 

"The  next  day  I  spent  at  the  Corps  and  Divisional  Head- 
quarters west  of  the  Kovel  road.    The  forward  un^ts  of  this  corps 

182  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

represent  the  maximum  point  of  our  advance,  and  the  Russians* 
most  vital  menace  to  the  enemy,  as  is  obvious  from  the  numbers 
of  Germans  who  are  attacking  here  in  dense  masses,  v^ithout 
so  far  seriously  impairing  the  Russian  resistance. 

"After  spending  three  days  on  this  front  motoring  hundreds 
of  versts,  and  inspecting  the  positions  taken  by  the  Russians, 
their  achievement  becomes  increasingly  impressive.  The  first 
line  taken  which  I  have  inspected  represents  the  latest  practice  in 
field  works,  in  many  ways  comparing  with  the  lines  which  I  saw 
on  the  French  front.  The  front  line  is  protected  by  five  or  six 
series  of  barbed  wire,  with  heavy  front  line  trenches,  studded 
with  redoubts,  machine-gun  positions,  and  underground  shelters 
twenty  f«eet  deep,  while  the  reserve  positions  extend  in  many 
places  from  half  a  mile  to  a  mile  in  series  behind  the  first 
line,  studded  with  communication  trenches,  shelters,  and  bomb- 

"It  must  not  be  thought  that  the  Austrians  offered  only  a  feeble 
resistance,  for  I  inspected  one  series  of  trenches  where,  I  was 
informed,  the  Russians  in  a  few  versts  of  front  buried  4,000 
Austrian  dead  on  the  first  lines  alone.  This  indicates  the  nature 
and  tenacity  of  the  enemy  resistance.  I  am  told  also  that  far 
fewer  Slavs  and  Poles  have  been  found  among  the  Austrians 
than  in  any  other  big  action.  It  is  believed  that  most  of  these 
have  been  sent  to  the  Italian  front  on  account  of  their  tendency 
to  surrender  to  the  Russians. 

"Another  interesting  point  about  their  advance  is  the  fact 
that  the  Russians  practically  in  no  place  used  guns  of  the  heaviest 
caliber,  and  that  the  preliminary  artillery  fire  in  no  place  lasted 
above  thirty  hours,  and  in  many  places  not  more  than  twelve 

"Last  summer's  experience  is  not  forgotten  by  the  Russians 
and  there  has  probably  been  the  most  economic  use  of  ammuni- 
tion on  any  of  the  fronts  in  this  war  commensurate  with  the 
results  during  these  advances.  Rarely  was  a  hurricane  fire  di- 
rected on  any  positions  preceding  an  assault,  but  the  artillery 
checked  each  shell  and  its  target,  which  was  rendered  possible 
by  the  nearness  of  our  front  lines. 


"In  this  way  avenues  were  cut  through  the  barbed  wire  at 
frequent  intervals  along  the  line  through  which  the  attacks  were 
pressed  home  and  the  flanking  trenches  and  the  labyrinths  were 
taken  in  the  rear  or  on  the  flanks  before  the  Austrians  were  able 
to  effect  their  escape.  The  line  once  broken  was  moved  steadily 
forward,  taking  Lutsk  six  days  after  the  first  attack,  and  one 
division  reaching  its  maximum  advance  of  forty-eight  miles  just 
ten  days  after  the  first  offensive  movement." 



/^N  June  21,  1916,  the  Russians  gained  another  important 
^^  victory  by  the  capture  of  the  city  of  Radautz,  in  the  southern 
Bukowina,  eleven  miles  southwest  of  the  Sereth  River,  and  less 
than  ten  miles  west  of  the  Rumanian  frontier.  This  river  Sereth 
must  not  be  confused  with  a  river  of  the  same  name  further  to 
the  north  in  Galicia.  The  latter  is  a  tributary  of  the  Dniester, 
while  the  Bukowinian  Sereth  is  a  tributary  of  the  Danube, 
which  latter  it  joins  near  the  city  of  Galatz,  in  Rumania,  after 
flowing  in  a  southeasterly  direction  through  this  country  for 
almost  two  hundred  miles. 

The  fall  of  Radautz  was  an  important  success  for  various  rea- 
sons. In  the  first  place,  it  brought  the  Russian  advance  that 
much  nearer  to  the  Carpathian  Mountains.  In  the  second  place, 
it  gave  the  invading  armies  full  control  of  an  important  railway 
running  in  a  northwesterly  direction  through  the  Bukowina. 
This  railway  was  of  special  importance,  because  it  is  the  northern 
continuation  of  one  of  the  principal  railroad  lines  of  Rumania 
which,  during  its  course  in  the  latter  country,  runs  along  the  west 
bank  of  the  Ser6th  River. 

In  Galicia,  General  von  Bothmer's  army  successfully  resisted 
strong  Russian  attacks  along  the  Hajvoronka-Bobulinze  line, 
north  of  Przevloka, 

184  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

Without  cessation  the  furious  fighting  in  the  Kolki-Sokal  sec- 
tor on  the  Styr  River  continued.  There  General  von  Lin- 
singen's  German  reenforcements  had  strengthened  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  resistance  to  such  an  extent  that  it  held  against  all 
Russian  attempts  to  break  through  their  line  in  their  advance 
toward  Kovel. 

The  same  condition  existed  on  the  Sokal-Linievka  line, 
where  the  Russian  forces  had  been  trying  for  the  best  part 
of  a  week  to  force  a  crossing  of  the  Stokhod  River,  the  only 
natural  obstacle  between  them  and  Kovel.  Further  south,  west 
of  Lutsk,  from  the  southern  sector  of  the  Turiya  River  down  to 
the  Galician  border  near  the  town  of  Gorochoff,  the  Teutonic 
forces  likewise  succeeded  in  resisting  the  Russian  advance.  This 
increased  resistance  of  the  Teutonic  forces  found  expression, 
also,  in  a  considerable  decrease  in  the  number  of  prisoners  taken 
by  the  Russians. 

Along  the  northern  half  of  the  front.  Field  Marshal  von  Hin- 
denburg  renewed  his  attacks  south  of  Dvinsk.  South  of  Lake 
Vishnieff,  near  Dubatovka,  German  troops,  after  intense  ar- 
tillery preparation,  stormed  a  portion  of  the  Russian  trenches, 
but  could  not  maintain  their  new  positions  against  repeated 
ferocious  counterattacks  carried  out  by  Russian  reenforcements. 
Near  Krevo,  the  Germans  forced  a  crossing  over  the  River 
Krevlianka,  but  were  again  thrown  back  to  its  west  bank  by 
valiant  Russian  artillery  attacks. 

The  Russian  advance  in  the  Bukowina  progressed  rapidly 
on  June  22,  1916.  Three  important  railroad  towns  fell  into 
their  hands,  on  that  day,  of  the  left  wing  of  the  Russian  army, 
Gurahumora  in  the  south,  Straza  in  the  center,  and  Vidnitz  in 
the  northwest.  Gurahumora  lies  fifty  miles  south  of  Czerno- 
witz,  and  is  situated  on  the  only  railway  in  the  southern  part 
of  the  crownland.  The  town  is  ten  miles  from  the  Russian  bor- 
der. Straza  lies  a  few  miles  east  of  the  western  terminal  of 
the  Radautz-Frasin  railway.  Its  fall  indicates  a  Russian  ad- 
vance of  eighteen  miles  since  the  capture  of  Radautz.  Vidnitz 
is  on  the  Galician  border,  a  few  miles  south  of  Kuty,  and  twenty- 
five  miles  southwest  of  Czernowitz. 


In  spite  of  these  successes,  however,  it  became  clear  by  this 
time  that  the  Russian' attempt  to  cut  off  the  Austrian  army  fight- 
ing in  the  Bukowina  had  miscarried.  Each  day  yielded  a  smaller 
number  of  prisoners  than  the  preceding  day.  The  main 
pai-t  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces  had  safely  reached  the  foot- 
hills of  the  Carpathians,  while  other  parts  farther  to  the  north 
had  succeeded  in  joining  the  army  of  General  von  Bothmer. 

In  Galicia  and  Volhynia  the  Teutonic  forces  continued  to 
resist  successfully  all  Russian  attempts  to  advance,  even  though 
there  was  not  the  slightest  let-up  in  the  violence  of  the  Russian 

Along  many  other  points  of  the  front,  more  or  less  important 
engagements  took  place,  especially  so  along  the  Oginsky  Canal, 
where  the  Russians  suffered  hea\y  losses.  Von  Hindenburg's 
troops  in  the  north  also  were  active  again,  both  in  the  Lake  dis- 
trict south  of  Dvinsk,  and  along  the  Dvina  sector  from  Dvinsk 
to  Riga. 

Once  more  a  Russian  success  was  reported  in  the  Bukowina 
on  June  23,  1916.  West  of  Sniatyn  the  Russian  troops  advanced 
to  the  Rybnitza  River,  occupying  the  heights  along  its  banks. 
Still  further  west,  about  twenty  miles  south  of  the  Pruth  River, 
the  town  of  Kuty,  well  up  in  the  Carpathian  Mountains,  was 
captured.  Kuty  is  about  forty  miles  west  of  Czernowitz,  just 
across  the  Galician  border  and  only  twenty  miles  almost  due 
south  from  the  important  railroad  center  Kolomea,  itself  about 
one-third  the  distance  from  Czernowitz  to  Lemberg  on  the  main 
railway  between  these  two  cities. 

A  slight  success  was  also  gained  on  the  Rovno-Dubno-Brody- 
Lemberg  railway.  A  few  miles  northeast  of  Brody,  just  east  of 
the  Galician-Russian  border,  near  the  village  of  Radziviloff ,  Rus- 
sian troops  gained  a  footing  in  the  Austro-Hungarian  trenches 
and  captured  a  few  hundred  prisoners.  Later  that  day,  how- 
ever, a  concentrated  artillery  bombardment  forced  them  to  give 
up  this  advantage  and  to  retire  to  their  own  trenches. 

In  Volhynia  the  German  counterattacks  against  General  Brus- 
silov's  army  extended  now  along  the  front  of  almost  eighty 
miles,  stretching  from  Kolki  on  the  Styr  River  to  within  a  few 

186  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

miles  of  the  Galician  border  near  Gorochoff.  Along  part  of 
this  line,  General  von  Linsingen's  forces  advanced  on  June  23, 
1916,  to  and  beyond  the  line  of  Zubilno-Vatyn-Zvinatcze,  and 
repulsed  a  series  of  most  fierce  counterattacks  launched  by  the 
Russians  which  caused  the  latter  serious  losses  in  killed,  wounded, 
and  prisoners.  The  country  covered  by  these  engagements  is 
extremely  difficult,  impeded  by  woods  and  swamps,  and  a  great 
deal  of  the  fighting,  therefore,  was  at  close  quarters,  especially 
so  near  the  town  of  Tortchyn,  about  fifteen  miles  due  west  of 
Lutsk.  Other  equally  severe  engagements  occurred  near  Zu- 
bilno  and  southeast  of  Sviniusky,  near  the  village  of  Pustonyty. 

In  the  north,  the  Russians  took  the  offensive  in  the  region  of 
Illuxt,  on  the  Dvina,  and  in  the  region  of  Vidzy,  north  of 
the  Disna  River.  Although  successful  in  some  places,  the  Ger- 
man resistance  was  strong  enough  to  prevent  any  material  gain. 
German  aeroplanes  attacked  and  bombarded  the  railway  sta- 
tions at  Kolozany,  southwest  of  Molodetchna,  and  of  Puniniez. 

West  of  Sniatyn,  Russian  troops,  fighting  as  they  advanced, 
occupied  the  villages  of  Kilikhoff  and  Toulokhoff  on  June  24, 

Late  on  the  preceding  evening,  June  23,  1916,  the  town  of 
Kimpolung  was  taken  after  intense  fighting.  Sixty  officers  and 
2,000  men  were  made  prisoners  and  seven  machine  gun3  were 
captured.     In  the  railway  station  whole  trains  were  captured. 

With  the  capture  of  the  towns  of  Kimpolung,  Kuty  and  Viznic, 
the  whole  Bukowina  was  now  in  the  hands  of  the  Russians.  So 
hurried  had  been  the  retirement  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces 
that  they  left  behind  eighty-eight  empty  wagons,  seventeen 
wagons  of  maize,  and  about  2,500  tons  of  anthracite,  besides 
structural  material,  great  reserves  of  fodder  and  other  material. 

On  the  Styr,  two  miles  south  of  Sminy,  in  the  region  of  Czar^ 
torysk,  the  Russians,  by  a  sudden  attack,  took  the  redoubt  of  a 
fort  whose  garrison,  after  a  stubborn  resistance,  were  all  put 
to  the  bayonet. 

North  of  the  village  of  Zatouritzky,  the  German-Austrian 
forces  assumed  the  offensive,  but  were  pushed  back  by  a  counter- 
attack, both  sides  suffering  heavily  in  the  hand-grenade  fighting. 


North  of  Poustomyty,  southeast  of  Sviusky  (southwest  of 
Lutsk),  the  Germans  attacked  Russian  Hnes,  but  were  received 
by  concentrated  fire,  and  penetrated  as  far  as  the  Russian 
trenches  in  only  a  few  points,  where  the  trenches  had  been  vir- 
tually destroyed  by  the  preparatory  artillery  fire. 

German  artillery  violently  bombarded  numerous  sectors  of  the 
Riga  positions.  A  strong  party  of  Germans  attempted  to  ap- 
proach Russian  trenches  near  the  western  extremity  of  Lake 
Babit,  but  without  result. 

On  the  Dvina,  between  Jacobstadt  and  Dvinsk,  German  ar- 
tillery was  also  violently  active.  German  aeroplanes  dropped 
twenty  bombs  on  the  station  at  Polochany  southwest  of  Molo- 

Oi.  June  25,  1916,  there  was  again  intense  artillery  fire  in  many 
sectors  in  the  regions  of  Jacobstadt  and  Dvinsk. 

Along  the  balance  of  the  front  many  stubborn  engagements 
were  fought  between  comparatively  small  detachments.  Thus 
for  instance,  in  the  region  east  of  Horodyshchj'  north  of  Bara- 
novitchy,  after  a  violent  bombardment  of  the  Rvissian  trenches 
near  the  Scroboff  farm  on  Sunday  night,  the  German  troops  took 
the  offensive,  but  were  repulsed.  At  the  same  time,  on  the  road 
to  Slutsk,  a  German  attempt  to  approach  the  Russian  trenches 
on  the  Shara  River  was  repulsed  by  heavy  fire. 

In  the  region  northwest  of  Lake  Vygonovskoye,  at  noon  the 
Germans  attacked  the  farm  situated  five  versts  southwest  of 
Lipsk.  At  first  they  were  repulsed;  but  nevertheless  they  re- 
newed the  attack  afterward  on  a  greatly  extended  front  under 
cover  of  heavy  and  light  artillery. 

Especially  heavy  fighting  again  developed  along  the  Kovel 
sector  of  the  Styr  front.  From  Kolki  to  Sokal  the  Germans 
bombarded  the  Russian  trenches  with  heavy  artillery  and 
made  many  local  attacks,  most  of  which  were  successfully 

Repeated  attacks  in  mass  formation  in  the  region  of  Linievka 
on  the  Stokhod,  resulted  also  in  some  successes  to  the  German 
troops.  West  of  Sokal  they  stormed  Russian  positions  over  a 
length  of  some  3,000  meters  and  repulsed  all  counterattacks. 

188  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  the  reaches  of  the  Dniester,  south  of  Buczacz,  Don  Cos- 
sacks, having  crossed  the  river  fighting  and  overthrowing  ele- 
ments of  the  Austro-Hungarian  advance  guards,  occupied  the 
villages  of  Siekerghine  and  Petruve,  capturing  five  officers  and 
350  men.  Russian  cavalry,  after  a  fight,  occupied  positions  near 
Pezoritt,  a  few  miles  west  of  Kimpolung. 

Additional  large  depots  of  wood  and  thirty-one  abandoned 
wagons  were  captured  at  Molit  and  Frumos  stations  on  the 
Gurahumora-Rascka  railway. 

On  the  other  hand  the  number  of  prisoners  and  the  amount 
of  booty  taken  by  General  von  Linsingen's  army  alone  in  Vol- 
hynia  since  June  16,  1916,  increased  to  sixty-one  officers,  11,097 
men,  two  cannon  and  fifty-four  guns. 



SO  strong  had  the  combined  Austro-Hungarian-German  resist- 
ance become  by  this  time,  that  by  June  26,  1916,  the  Russian 
advance  seemed  to  have  been  halted  all  along  the  line.  The 
resistance  had  stiffened,  especially  in  front  of  Kovel,  where  the 
Central  Powers  seemed  to  have  assembled  their  strongest  forces 
and  were  not  only  successful  in  keeping  the  Russians  from  reach- 
ing Kovel  but  even  regained  some  of  the  ground  lost  in  Volhynia. 

Southwest  of  Sokal  they  stormed  Russian  lines  and  took  sev- 
eral hundred  prisoners.  Russian  counterattacks  were  nowhere 
successful.  This  was  especially  due  to  the  fact  that  both  on  the 
Kolki  front  and  on  the  middle  Strypa  the  Germans  bombarded  all 
Russian  positions  with  heavy  guns. 

To  the  north  of  Kuty  and  west  of  Novo  Posaive  Russian  at- 
tacks were  repulsed  likewise  with  heavy  losses. 

The  fighting  in  the  north,  along  the  Dvina  front  and  south 
of  Dvinsk  in  the  lake  district,  had  settled  down  to  a  series  of  local 


engagements  between  small  detachments  and  to  artillery  duels. 
German  detachments  which  penetrated  Russian  positions  south 
of  Kekkau  brought  back  twenty-six  prisoners,  one  machine  gun 
and  one  mine  thrower.  Another  detachment  which  entered  Rus- 
sian positions  brought  back  north  of  Miadziol  one  officer,  188 
men,  six  machine  guns  and  four  mine  throwers.  Numerous 
bombs  were  again  dropped  on  the  railway  freight  station  at 
Dvinsk.  In  the  Baltic,  however,  three  Russian  hydroplanes  in 
the  Irben  Strait  engaged  four  German  machines,  bringing  down 
one.  On  the  Riga  front  and  near  Uxkull  bridgehead  there  was  an 
artillery  duel.  Against  the  Dvinsk  positions,  too,  the  Germans 
opened  a  violent  artillery  lire  at  different  points,  and  attempted 
to  take  the  offensive  north  of  Lake  Sventen,  but  without 

In  the  region  north  of  Lake  Miadziol,  south  of  Dvinsk,  the 
Germans  bombarded  with  heavy  and  light  artillery  Russian 
trenches  between  lakes  Dolja  and  Voltchino.  They  then  started 
an  offensive  which  was  stopped  by  heavy  artillery  fire.  A  second 
German  offensive  also  failed,  the  attacking  troops  being  again 
driven  back  to  their  own  trenches. 

In  the  region  of  the  Slutsk  road;  southeast  of  Baranovitchy, 
the  Germans  after  a  short  artillery  preparation  attempted  to 
take  the  offensive,  but  were  repulsed  by  heavy  fire. 

The  Germans  also  resumed  the  offensive  in  the  vicinity  of  a 
farm  southwest  of  Lipsk,  northeast  of  Lake  Vygonovskoe,  and 
succeeded  in  reaching  the  east  bank  of  the  Shara,  but  soon  after- 
ward were  dislodged  from  it  and  fell  back. 

The  Russian  official  statement  of  that  day,  June  26,  1916,  an- 
nounced that  General  Brussilov  had  captured  between  June  4th 
and  23d,  4,413  officers  and  doctors,  194,941  men,  219  guns,  644 
machine  guns  and  195  bomb  throwers. 

Again,  during  the  night  of  June  26,  1916,  southeast  of  Riga,  the 
Germans,  after  bombarding  the  Russian  positions  and  emitting 
clouds  of  gas,  attacked  in  great  force  in  the  direction  of  Pulkarn. 
Reenforcements,  having  been  brought  up  quickly  by  the  Russians, 
they  succeeded  with  the  assistance  of  their  artillery,  in  repulsing 
the  Germans,  who  suffered  heavy  losses. 

190  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  the  Dvina  and  in  the  Jacobstadt  region  there  was  an  artil- 
lery and  rifle  duel.  German  aeroplanes  were  making  frequent 
raids  on  the  Russian  lines.  They  dropped  sixty-eight  bombs 
during  a  nocturnal  raid  on  the  town  of  Dvinsk  on  June  27,  1916. 
The  damage  both  to  property  and  life  was  considerable. 

An  attempt  on  the  part  of  German  troops  to  take  the  offensive 
south  of  Krevo  was  repulsed  by  gunfire.  On  the  rest  of  the  front 
as  far  as  the  region  of  the  Pripet  Marshes  there  was  an  exchange 
of  fire. 

On  the  same  day  General  von  Linsingen's  forces  stormed  and 
captured  the  village  of  Linievka,  west  of  Sokal  and  about  three 
miles  east  of  the  Svidniki  bridgehead  on  the  Stokhod,  and  the 
Russian  positions  south  of  it.  West  of  Torchin,  near  the  apex 
of  the  Lutsk  salient,  a  strong  Russian  attack  collapsed  under 
German  artillery  and  infantry  fire. 

In  Galicia,  southwest  of  Novo  Pochaieff ,  east  of  Brody,  Austro- 
Hungarian  outposts  repulsed  five  Russian  night  attacks. 

Gradually  the  Russians  were  closing  in  on  the  important  posi- 
tion of  Kolomea,  near  the  northern  Bukowina  border.  On  the  east 
they  were  only  twelve  miles  off,  on  the  north  they  had  crossed 
the  Dniester  twenty-four  miles  away,  and  in  a  few  days  they 
reported  having  driven  the  Austrians  across  a  river  thirteen 
miles  to  the  southeast,  while  at  Kuty,  twenty  miles  almost  due 
south,  one  attack  followed  another. 

On  the  following  day,  June  28,  1916,  strong  offensive  move- 
ments again  developed  both  in  East  Galicia  and  in  Volhynia.  In 
the  former  region  the  Russians  were  the  aggressors ;  in  the  latter, 
the  Germans. 

In  East  Galicia  General  Lechitsky,  commander  of  Brussilov's 
center,  began  a  mighty  onrush  against  the  Austro-Hungarian 
lines,  between  the  Dniester  and  the  region  around  Kuty,  in  an 
effort  to  push  his  opponents  beyond  the  important  railway  city 
of  Kolomea,  strategically  the  most  valuable  point  of  southern 

He  succeeded  in  inflicting  a  crushing  defeat  upon  the  Austro- 
Hungarians,  taking  three  lines  of  trenches  and  10,506  prisoners. 
This  success  was  achieved  in  the  northern  part  of  the  area  of 


attack,  between  the  Dniester  and  the  region  around  the  Pruth. 
The  fall  of  Kolomea  looked  inevitable  because  of  this  new 

Persistent  fighting  took  place  on  the  line  of  the  River  Tcherto- 
vetz,  a  tributary  of  the  Pruth,  and  also  in  the  region  of  the  town 
of  Kuty.    Both  sides  again  suffered  heavy  losses  at  these  points. 

East  of  Kolomea  the  Russians  again  attacked  in  massed  for- 
mations on  a  front  of  twenty-five  miles.  At  numerous  points, 
at  a  great  sacrifice,  Russian  reserves  were  thrown  against  the 
Austrian  lines,  and  succeeded  in  advancing  in  hand-to-hand  fight- 
ing, but  during  the  evening  were  forced  to  evacuate  a  portion  of 
their  front  near  Kolomea  and  to  the  south.  On  the  Dniester  line 
superior  Russian  forces  were  repulsed  north  of  Obertyn.  All 
Russian  attempts  to  dislodge  the  Austrians  west  of  Novo  Peczaje 
failed.  At  many  other  points  in  Galicia  and  the  Bukowina  there 
were  artillery  duels. 

In  Volhynia,  especially  in  the  region  of  Linievka,  and  at  other 
points  on  the  Stokhod,  the  desperate  fighting  which  had  been  in 
progress  for  quite  a  few  days  continued  without  abatement. 

Russian  attacks  made  by  some  companies  between  Dubatow- 
ska  and  Smorgon  failed  in  the  face  of  terrific  German  fire. 

Near  Guessitschi,  southeast  of  Ljubtscha,  a  German  division 
stormed  an  enemy  point  of  support  east  of  the  Niemen,  taking 
some  prisoners  and  capturing  two  machine  guns  and  two  mine 

On  the  Dvina  front  German  artillery  bombarded  the  region 
of  Sakowitche,  Seltze  and  Bogouschinsk  Wood,  northwest  of 
Krevo.  Strong  forces  then  proceeded  to  attack,  but  were  re- 
pulsed by  Russian  machine  guns  and  infantry  fire. 

On  June  29,  1916,  the  fighting  northwest  of  Kuty  continued. 
As  a  result  of  pressure  on  the  part  of  the  superior  forces  of  the 
Russians  the  Austro-Hungarians  were  forced  to  withdraw  their 
lines  west  and  southwest  of  Kolomea.  The  town  of  Obertyn  was 
taken  after  a  stubborn  fight,  as  well  as  villages  in  the  neighbor- 
hood, north  and  south.  In  the  region  south  of  the  Dniester,  the 
Russians  were  pursuing  the  Austrians,  who  were  forced  to  leave 
behind  a  large  number  of  convoys  and  military  material. 

M— War  St.  5 

192  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Near  the  village  of  Solivine,  between  the  rivers  Stokhod  and 
Styr,  to  the  west  of  Sokal,  the  Germans  attempted  to  take  the 
offensive.  Their  attack  was  repulsed,  but  an  artillery  duel  con- 
tinued until  late  in  the  day. 

In  the  morning  German  aviators  dropped  thirty  bombs  on 
Lutsk.  Light  and  heavy  German  artillery  opened  a  violent  fire  on 
the  Russian  trenches  in  the  Niemen  sector,  northeast  of  Novo 
Grodek.  Under  cover  of  this  fire  German  forces  crossed  the 
Niemen  and  occupied  the  woods  east  of  the  village  of  Guessitschi. 

On  the  Dvina  front  German  artilleiy  bombarded  Russian 
positions  southeast  of  Riga  and  the  bridgehead  above  Uxkull. 
North  of  Illuxt  the  Germans  attempted  to  move  forward,  but 
were  thrown  back  by  Russian  gunfire. 



LATE  that  day,  June  29,  1916,  General  Lechitsky  captured 
^  Kolomea,  the  important  railway  junction  for  the  possession 
of  which  the  battle  had  been  raging  furiously  for  days  past. 
This  was  a  severe  blow  to  the  Central  Powers.  It  meant  a  seri- 
ous danger  to  the  remainder  of  General  Pfianzer's  army  and  like- 
wise threatened  the  safety  of  General  von  Bothmer's  forces  to 
the  north. 

Still  the  Russian  advances  continued.  On  the  last  day  of  June 
their  left  wing  drove  back  the  retreating  Austro-Hungarians 
over  a  front  situated  south  of  the  Dniester  and  occupied  many 
places  south  of  Kolomea. 

Northwest  of  Kolomea,  Russian  troops,  after  a  violent  en- 
gagement, drove  back  their  opponents  in  the  direction  of  the 
heights  near  the  village  of  Brezova,  and  as  the  result  of  a  bril- 
liant attack,  took  part  of  the  heights. 

The  number  of  prisoners  taken  by  General  Lechitsky  during 
the  last  days  of  June,  1916,  was  305  officers  and  14,574  men. 


Four  guns  and  thirty  machine  guns  were  captured.  The  total 
number  of  prisoners  taken  from  June  4  to  June  30,  1916,  in- 
clusive, was  claimed  to  have  reached  the  immense  total  of  217,000 
officers  and  men. 

During  June,  in  the  region  south  of  Griciaty,  158  officers  and 
2,307  men,  as  well  as  cannon  and  nineteen  machine  guns,  fell 
into  the  hands  of  the  Central  Powers. 

In  the  region  of  the  Lipa  Austrian  artillery  continued  to  bom 
bard  the  Russian  front  with  heavy  artillery  and  field  artillery. 
Desperate  attacks  made  by  newly  arrived  German  troops  were, 
however,  repulsed  with  heavy  losses  to  the  attacking  forces. 

Near  Thumacz  an  attack  of  cavalry,  who  charged  six  deep 
along  a  front  of  three  kilometers,  was  successfully  repulsed  by 
Austro-Hungarian  troops. 

German  forces  drove  back  Russian  troops  south  of  Ugrinow, 
west  of  Tortschin,  and  near  Sokal. 

At  other  points  on  the  Kovel  front  engagements  likewise  took 
place,  though  the  violence  of  the  combat  had  somewhat  abated. 

West  of  Kolki,  southwest  of  Sokal,  and  near  Viczny,  German 
forces  conquered  Russian  positions.  West  and  southwest  of 
Lutsk  various  local  engagements  occurred.  Here  the  Russians 
on  June  30,  1916,  lost  fifteen  officers,  1,365  men;  since  June  16th, 
twenty-six  officers,  3,165  men. 

The  next  objective  of  General  Lechitsky's  army  was  Stanislau, 
about  thirty  miles  farther  northwest  than  Kolomea,  on  the  Czer- 
novitz-Lemberg  railway.  On  July  1,  1916,  in  the  region  west  of 
Kolomea,  the  army  of  General  Lechitsky,  after  intense  fighting, 
took  .by  storm  some  strong  Austrian  positions  and  captured  some 
2,000  men. 

Further  north,  German  and  Austro-Hungarian  troops  of  Gen- 
eral von  Bothmer's  army  stormed  the  hill  of  Vorobijowka,  a 
height  southwest  of  Tarnopol,  which  had  been  occupied  by  the 
Russians,  and  took  seven  officers  and  891  men.  Seven  machine 
guns  and  two  mine  throwers  were  captured. 

On  the  Volhynia  front  the  German  troops  continued  to  deliver 
desperate  attacks  against  some  sectors  between  the  Styr  and 
Stokhod  and  south  of  the  Stokhod. 


In  the  afternoon  German  artillery  produced  gusts  of  fire  in 
the  region  of  Koptchie,  Ghelenovka  and  Zabary,  southwest  of 
Sokal.  An  energetic  attack  then  followed,  but  was  repulsed. 
Southwest  of  Kiselin  Russian  fire  stopped  an  offensive.  At  the 
village  of  Seniawa  and  in  the  same  region  near  the  village  of 
Seublino  there  was  a  warm  engagement.  A  series  of  fresh  Ger- 
man attacks  southwest  of  Kiselin-Zubilno-Kochey  was  repulsed. 
The  German  columns  were  put  to  flight  with  heavy  losses.  The 
fugitives  were  killed  in  large  numbers,  but,  reenforced  by  re- 
serves, the  attacks  were  promptly  renewed,  without,  however, 
meeting  with  much  success. 

South  of  the  village  of  Zaturze,  near  the  village  of  Koscheff, 
Russian  forces  stopped  an  Austrian  offensive  by  a  counteroffen- 
sive.  Austrian  attempts  to  cross  the  River  Shara  southwest  of 
Lipsk  and  south  of  Baranovitchy  were  likewise  repulsed. 

On  July  2,  1916,  Russian  torpedo  boats  bombarded  the  Cour- 
land  coast  east  of  Raggazem  without  result.  They  were  attacked 
effectively  by  German  coastal  batteries  and  by  aeroplanes. 

At  many  points  along  the  front  of  Field  Marshal  von  Hinden- 
burg  the  Russians  increased  their  fire,  and  repeatedly  undertook 
advances.  These  led  to  fighting  within  the  German  lines  near 
Niki,  north  of  Smorgon.    The  Russians  were  ejected  with  losses. 

On  the  front  of  Prince  Leopold  the  Russians  attacked  north- 
east and  east  of  Gorodische  and  on  both  sides  of  the  Baranovitchy 
railway,  after  artillery  preparation  lasting  four  hours. 

Farther  south  fierce  battles  occurred  between  the  Styr 
and  the  Stokhod  and  to  the  south  of  these  rivers.  On  the 
Koptche-Ghelenovka-Zobary  front,  after  gusts  of  gunfire, 
the  Germans  left  their  trenches  and  opened  an  assault  upon 
the  Russian  line.  Under  cover  of  a  bombardment  of  ex- 
treme violence  German  troops  opened  an  offensive  south 
of  Linievka,  but  were  checked.  In  the  region  of  Zubilno 
and  Zaturze  (west  of  Lutsk)  the  Austrians  took  the  offen- 
sive in  massed  formation,  but  were  repulsed  with  heavy  losses. 
East  of  the  village  of  Ougrinov,  midway  between  Lutsk  and 
Gorochoff,  fresh  German  forces  held  up  Russian  attacks.  At  other 
points  on  the  front  of  General  von  Linsingen  strong  Russian 


counterattacks  were  delivered  west  and  southwest  of  Lutsk,  but 
failed  to  stop  the  German  advance.  Large  cavalry  attacks  broke 
down  under  German  fire.  The  number  of  prisoners  was  increased 
by  the  Germans  by  about  1,800.  As  the  result  of  a  week  of  costly 
onslaughts  by  the  Austro-German  army  between  the  Stokhod  and 
the  Styr  Rivers  in  Volhynia,  the  Russian  forces  had  now  been 
forced  back  a  distance  of  five  miles  along  the  greatest  part  of 
the  front  before  Kovel. 

In  the  region  of  Issakoff,  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Dniester, 
southeast  of  Nijniff ,  the  Austrians  took  the  offensive  in  superior 
-  numbers.  The  Russians  launched  a  counteroffensive,  which  re- 
sulted in  a  fierce  fight. 

On  July  3,  1916,  the  Russian  advance  west  of  Kolomea  still 
continued  in  this  direction.  The  Austrians  were  dislodged  from 
several  positions,  and  as  a  result  of  this  the  Russians  occupied  the 
village  of  Potok  Tchamy.  The  booty  taken  by  the  Russians  here 
was  four  cannon  and  a  few  hundred  prisoners. 

Further  north  in  Galicia  the  army  group  of  General  Count 
von  Bothmer,  southeast  of  Thumacz,  in  a  quick  advance,  forced 
back  the  Russians  on  a  front  more  than  twelve  and  a  half  miles 
wide  and  more  than  five  and  a  quarter  miles  deep. 

On  the  Styr-Stokhod  front  the  Russians  again  threw  strong 
forces,  part  of  them  recently  brought  up  to  this  front,  in  masses 
against  the  German  lines  to  stay  their  advance,  but  were  re- 

An  attempt  of  German  troops  to  cross  the  Styr  in  the  region 
of  the  village  of  Lipa  was  repulsed.  During  the  night  the  Rus- 
sians captured  on  this  front  eleven  officers,  nearly  1,000  men  and 
five  machine  guns. 

Still  farther  north,  local  counterattacks  at  points  where  the 
Russians  first  succeeded  in  making  some  advances,  all  yielded 
finally  some  successes  for  the  Germans,  who  captured  thirteen 
,  officers  and  1,883  men.  Two  lines  of  German  works  south  of 
Tzirine,  northeast  of  Baranovitchy,  however,  were  pierced  by  the 
Russians.  In  this  fighting  they  captured  seventy-two  officers, 
2,700  men,  eleven  cannon  and  several  machine  guns  and  bomb 

196  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

On  the  northerly  front  there  was  lively  artillery  fire,  which 
became  violent  at  some  points.  In  the  region  of  the  village  of 
Baltaguzy,  east  of  Lake  Vichnevskoye  the  Germans  attempted 
to  leave  their  trenches,  but  were  prevented  by  Russian  fire.  A 
Russian  air  squadron  raided  the  Baranovitchy  railway  station. 

Once  more,  on  July  4,  1916,  the  coast  of  Courland  was  bom- 
barded fruitlessly  from  the  sea  by  Russian  ships.  The  operations 
of  the  Russian  forces  against  the  front  of  Field  Marshal  von 
Hindenburg  were  continued,  especially  on  both  sides  of  Smorgon. 
On  the  Riga-Dvinsk  front  the  artillery  duels  were  growing  more 
intense.  Northwest  of  Goduziesk,  Russian  troops  dislodged  Ger- 
man forces  from  the  outskirts  of  a  wood.  German  aeroplane 
squadrons  dropped  bombs  freely  on  the  railway. 

The  Russians  recommenced  attacking  the  front  from  Tzirin  to 
a  point  southeast  of  Baranovitchy.  Hand-to-hand  fights  in  some 
places  were  very  stubborn.  The  Russians  were  driven  out  of 
the  sections  of  the  German  lines  into  which  they  had  broken  and 
suffered  very  heavy  losses. 

On  the  lower  Styr  and  on  the  front  between  the  Styr  and 
Stokhod,  and  farther  south  as  far  as  the  region  of  the  lower 
Lipa,  everywhere  there  were  fought  most  desperate  engage- 

In  the  region  of  Vulka-Galouziskai  the  Russians  broke  through 
wire  entanglements  fitted  with  land  mines.  In  a  very  desperate 
fight  on  the  Styr  west  of  Kolki  the  Russians  overthrew  the 
Germans  and  took  more  than  1,000  prisoners,  together  with 
three  guns,  seventeen  machine  guns  and  two  searchlights,  and 
several  thousand  rifles. 

In  the  region  north  of  Zaturse  and  near  Volia  Sadovska  the 
Russians  seized  the  first  line  of  enemy  trenches,  and  stopped  by 
artillery  fire  an  enemy  attack  on  Schkline. 

In  the  region  of  the  lower  Lipa  the  Germans  made  a  most 
stubborn  attack  without  result.  At  another  point  the  Germans, 
who  crossed  the  Styr  above  the  mouth  of  the  Lipa,  near  the  vil- 
lage of  Peremel,  were  attacked  and  driven  back  to  the  river. 

On  the  Galician  front,  in  the  direction  of  the  Carpathians, 
there  was  an  artillery  action.    The  left  wing  of  the  Russians 


continued  to  press  the  Austrians  back.  On  the  road  between 
Kolomea  and  Dalatyn  the  Russians  captured  the  village  of  Sad- 
zadka  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet. 

Southeast  of  Riga  and  at  many  points  on  the  front  between 
Postavy  and  Vishnieff,  further  partial  attacks  by  the  Russians 
were  repulsed  on  July  5,  1916.  On  the  Dvina  front  and  the 
Dvinsk  position  and  further  south  there  were  also  lively  artillery 
engagements  at  numerous  points.  Near  Boyare,  on  the  Dvina 
above  Friedrichstadt,  Russian  light  artillery  smashed  a  German 
light  battery.  Attempts  by  the  Germans  to  remove  the  guns 
were  unsuccessful.  The  gun  team,  which  endeavored  to  save  one 
of  the  guns,  was  annihilated.  All  the  guns  were  eventually 

Extremely  fierce  fighting,  especially  in  the  region  east  of 
Worodische  and  south  of  Darovo,  was  everywhere  in  German 
favor.  The  losses  of  the  Russians  were  very  considerable. 

In  the  direction  of  Baranovitchy  the  fighting  continues,  devel- 
oping to  Russian  advantage.  The  Germans  delivered  repeated 
counterattacks  in  order  to  regain  positions  captured  by  the  Rus- 
sians, but  each  was  easily  repulsed. 

South  of  the  Pinsk  Marshes  the  Russians  had  important  new 
successes.  In  the  region  of  Gostioukhovka  they  captured  an 
entire  German  battery  and  took  prisoners  twenty-two  officers  and 
350  soldiers.  Northwest  of  Baznitchi,  on  the  Styr,  north  of  Kolki, 
the  Russians  captured  two  cannon,  three  machine  guns,  and 
2,322  prisoners.  North  of  Stegrouziatine  they  captured  German 
trenches  and  took  more  than  300  prisoners  and  one  machine 
gun.  Between  the  Styr  and  the  Stokhod,  west  of  Sokal  and 
southward,  the  Germans  launched  many  counterattacks  under 
the  protection  of  artillery. 

In  Galicia,  after  intense  artillery  preparations,  the  Russians 
took  up  an  energetic  offensive  west  of  the  lower  Strypa  and  on 
the  right  bank  of  the  Dniester.  The  Germans  were  defeated  and 
driven  back.  The  Russian  troops  were  now  approaching  the 
Koropice  and  Souhodolek  Rivers,  tributaries  of  the  Dniester. 
They  took  here  nearly  5,000  prisoners  and  eleven  machine  guns. 
On  the  front  of  the  Barysz  sector  the  defense,  after  the  repulse 

198  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  repeated  Russian  attacks,  was  partially  transferred  to  the 
Koropice  sector.  Russian  assaults  frequently  broke  down  before 
the  German  lines  on  both  sides  of  Chocimirz,  southeast  of 

Near  Sadzadka  the  Russians  with  superior  forces  were  suc- 
cessful in  penetrating  the  Austrian  positions,  who  then  retreated 
about  live  miles  to  the  west,  where  they  formed  a  new  line  and 
repulsed  all  attacks. 

Southwest  and  northwest  of  Kolomea  the  Austrians  main^ 
tained  their  positions  against  all  Russian  efforts. 

Southwest  of  Buczacz,  after  heavy  fighting  at  Koropice  Brook, 
the  Austrians  recaptured  their  line. 


THE     GERMAN     STAND     ON     THE     STOKHOD 

GENERAL  VON  LINSINGEN  saw  himself  forced  to  abandon 
on  July  6,  1916,  a  corner  of  the  German  lines  protruding 
toward  Czartorysk  on  account  of  the  superior  pressure  on  its 
sides  near  Kostiukovka  and  west  of  Kolki,  and  new  lines  of  de- 
fense were  selected  along  the  Stokhod.  On  both  sides  of  Sokal, 
Russian  attacks  broke  down  with  heavy  losses.  West  and  south- 
west of  Lutsk  the  situation  remained  unchanged  that  day. 

Against  the  front  of  Field  Marshal  von  Hindenburg,  the  Rus- 
sians continued  their  operations.  They  attacked  with  strong 
forces  south  of  Lake  Narotch,  but  after  fierce  fighting  were 
repulsed.  Northeast  of  Smorgon  and  at  other  points  they  were 
easily  repulsed. 

The  fighting  in  the  vicinity  of  Kolomea  was  extended.  A 
strong  Russian  advance  west  of  the  town  was  checked  by  a 
counterattack.  Southeast  of  Tlumach  German  and  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  broke  up  with  artillery  and  infantry  fire  an 
attack  over  a  front  of  one  and  a  half  kilometers  by  a  large  force 
of  Russian  cavalry. 


The  number  of  prisoners  the  Russians  took  on  July  4  and  5, 
1916,  during  the  fighting  which  still  continued  on  west  of  the 
line  of  the  Styr  and  below  the  town  of  Kolki,  totals  more  than 
300  officers  and  7,415  men,  mostly  unwounded.  The  Russians 
also  captured  six  guns,  twenty-three  machine  guns,  two  search- 
lights, several  thousand  rifles,  eleven  bomb  throwers,  and  sev- 
enty-three ammunition  lights. 

The  Russians  repulsed  violent  German  attacks  near  Gruziatyn. 
On  the  right  bank  of  the  Dniester,  in  the  region  of  Jidatcheff 
and  Hotzizrz,  there  also  was  desperate  fighting. 

There  was  a  lively  artillery  duel  in  many  sectors  of  the  front 
north  of  the  Pinsk  Marshes.  East  of  Baranovitchy,  the  Austro- 
Hungarian  forces  launched  several  desperate  counterattacks 
which  were  repulsed  by  the  Russians.  Several  times  the  Aus- 
trians  opened  gusts  of  fire  with  their  heavy  and  light  guns 
against  the  region  of  the  village  of  Labuzy,  east  of  Baranovitchy. 
Under  cover  of  this  fire,  the  Austrians  delivered  two  violent 
counterattacks.  The  Russians  drove  the  Austro-Hungarians 
back  on  both  occasions,  bringing  to  bear  on  them  the  fire  of  their 
artillery,  machine  guns,  and  rifles. 

During  the  repulse  of  repeated  attacks  made  on  July  7,  1916, 
south  of  Lake  Narotch,  the  Germans  captured  two  officers  and 
210  men.    They  repelled  weak  advances  at  other  points. 

Repeated  efforts  by  strong  Russian  forces  against  the  front 
from  Tzirin  to  the  southeast  of  Gorodische  and  on  both  sides 
of  the  Darovo  ended  in  complete  failure.  The  dead  lying  before 
the  German  positions  numbered  thousands.  In  addition  to  these 
the  Russians  lost  a  considerable  number  of  prisoners. 

Austro-Hungarian  troops  fighting  along  the  bend  of  the  Styr, 
opposed  for  four  weeks  past  to  hostile  forces  which  have  in- 
creased from  threefold  to  fivefold  superiority,  found  it  necessary 
to  withdraw  their  advanced  lines  which  were  exposed  to  a 
double  outflanking  movement.  Assisted  by  the  cooperation  of 
German  troops  west  of  Kolki  and  by  the  Polish  Legion  near 
Kaloda,  the  movement  was  executed  undisturbed  by  the  Russians*" 

In  the  region  of  the  lower  Styr,  west  of  the  Czartorysk  sector, 
the  Russians  were  closely  pressing  the  Austrians.  After  the  battle 

200  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

they  occupied  the  Gorodok-Manevichi  station  on  the  Okonsk- 
Zagorovka-Gruziatyn  line.  In  combats  seventy-five  officers  in 
the  zone  of  the  railway  were  taken  with  2,000  men,  and  also 
in  the  Gruziatyn  region. 

Following  the  capture  of  the  village  of  Grady,  and  after  a  hot 
bayonet  encounter,  the  village  of  Dolzyca,  on  the  main  road  be- 
tween Kolki  and  Manevichi,  and  village  of  Gruziatyn  were  taken. 
The  number  of  German  and  Austrian  prisoners  continued  to 

In  the  region  of  Optevo  a  great  number  of  Austrians  were 
sabered  during  pursuit  of  the  Russians  after  a  cavalry  charge. 
More  than  600  men,  five  cannon,  six  machine  guns,  and  three 
machine  gun  detachments,  with  complete  equipment,  were  cap- 

East  of  Monasterzyska  (Galicia),  the  Russians  took  posses- 
sion of  the  village  of  Gregorov,  carrying  off  more  than  1,000 
prisoners.  There  were  artillery  duels  at  many  points.  Russian 
troops  continued  to  press  back  the  Austrians.  In  southeastern 
Galicia,  between  Delatyn  and  Sadzovka,  a  Russian  attack  in 
strong  force  was  defeated  by  Alpine  Territorials. 

In  the  Bukowina,  in  successful  engagements,  Austrian  troops 
brought  in  500  prisoners  and  four  machine  guns. 

On  July  8,  1916,  the  Russians  fighting  against  the  army  group 
of  Prince  Leopold  of  Bavaria,  repeated  several  times  their  strong 
attacks.  The  attacks  again  broke  down,  with  heavy  losses  for 
the  Russians.  In  the  fighting  of  the  last  few  days  the  Germans 
captured  two  officers  and  631  men. 

The  Russian  offensive  on  the  lower  Stokhod  continued.  South 
of  the  Sarny-Kovel  railway  the  villages  of  Goulevitchi  and  Ka- 
chova  were  occupied  after  fighting.  Farther  south  there  were 
fires  everywhere  in  the  region  of  the  villages  of  Arsenovitchi, 
Janovka,  and  Douchtch. 

In  southern  Galicia,  General  Lechitsky  occupied  Delatjm  after 
very  violent  fighting.  Delatyn  is  a  railway  junction  of  great 
importance.  Depots  of  war  material,  steel  shields,  grenades, 
cartridges,  iron,  and  wire  abandoned  by  the  Austrians  have  been 
captured  at  many  points. 

THE    GERMAN   STAND    ON   THE    STOKHOD        201 

On  the  northern  section  of  the  front,  apart  from  fruitless 
Russian  attacks  in  the  region  of  Skobowa,  east  of  Gorodische, 
nothing  of  importance  occurred  on  July  9,  1916. 

The  Russians  advancing  toward  the  Stokhod  line  were  re- 
pulsed everywhere.  Their  attacks  west  and  southwest  of  Lutsk 
were  unsuccessful.  German  aeroplane  squadrons  made  a  suc- 
cessful attack  on  Russian  shelters  east  of  the  Stokhod. 

Near  the  villages  of  Svidniki,  Starly  Mossor  and  Novy  Mossor, 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Stokhod,  lively  fighting  was  in  progress. 
The  Russians  took  German  prisoners  at  three  points.  Between 
Kiselin  and  Zubilno  the  Austrians  attempted  a  surprise  attack, 
but  it  was  repulsed  with  heavy  loss. 

The  total  number  of  prisoners  taken  by  General  Kaledine, 
from  July  4  to  July  8,  1916,  was  341  officers  and  9,145  unwounded 
soldiers.  He  also  captured  ten  pieces  of  artillery,  forty-eight 
machine  guns,  sixteen  bomb  throwers,  7,930  rifles,  and  depots 
of  engineering  materials.  These  figures  were  supposed  to  be 
added  to  those  given  previously,  which  included  300  officers, 
12,000  men  and  forty-five  pieces  of  artillery. 

On  the  Galician  front  there  was  a  particularly  intense  artillery 
action  on  both  banks  of  the  Dniester. 

From  the  coast  to  Pinsk  no  events  of  special  importance  oc- 
curred during  July  10,  1916. 

The  Russians  made  futile  attacks  with  very  strong  forces  at 
several  points  against  the  German  line  along  the  Stokhod  River, 
notably  near  Czereviscze,  Hulevicze,  Korysmi  and  Janmaka,  and 
on  both  sides  of  the  Kovel-Rovno  railway. 

Near  Hulevicze  the  Germans  drove  back  Russian  troops  be- 
yond their  position  by  a  strong  counterattack,  capturing  more 
than  700  prisoners  and  three  machine  guns. 

In  the  Stokhod  region  the  Germans  received  strong  reenforce- 
ments  and  brought  up  powerful  artillery,  enabling  them  to  offer 
a  very  stubborn  resistance. 

On  the  Briaza-Fondoul-Moldava  front,  northwest  of  Kimpo- 
lung,  in  the  southern  Bukowina,  considerable  Austro-Hungarian 
forces  were  thrown  back  by  Russian  troops  after  violent  en- 
gagements at  various  points. 

202  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

German  aeroplanes  successfully  attacked  the  railway  station 
at  Zamirie  on  the  Minsk-Baranovitchy  railway  line,  dropping  as 
many  as  sixty  bombs. 

An  attempt  to  cross  the  Dvina  made  by  weak  Russian  forces 
west  of  Friedrichstadt  on  July  11,  1916,  and  attacks  south  of 
Narotch  Lake  were  frustrated. 

Russian  detachments  which  attempted  to  establish  themselves 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Stokhod  River,  near  Janowka,  were  at- 
tacked. Not  a  single  man  of  these  detachments  got  away  from 
the  southern  bank.  At  this  point  and  on  the  Kovel-Rovno  rail- 
road the  Germans  took  more  than  800  prisoners.  The  booty 
taken  on  the  Stokhod  during  the  two  days,  apart  from  a 
number  of  officers  and  1,932  men,  included  twelve  machine  guns. 
The  German  aerial  squadron  continued  their  activity  in  attacks 
east  of  the  Stokhod.    A  Russian  captive  balloon  was  shot  down. 

Russian  artillery  dispersed  Germans  who  were  attempting  U 
bring  artillery  against  the  Ikakul  works.  Near  the  village  ol 
Grouchivka,  north  of  Hulevicze,  the  Germans  made  their  ap- 
pearance on  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  but  later  were  ejected 

In  the  sector  of  the  Tscherkassy  farm,  south  of  Krevo,  the 
Germans,  supported  by  violent  artillery  fire,  took  the  offensive, 
but  were  repulsed  by  Russian  counterattacks. 

On  the  whole  front  from  Riga  to  Poliessie,  there  was  inter- 
mittent artillery  fire,  together  with  rifle  fire.  German  aviators 
dropped  bombs  on  the  station  of  Zamirie  and  the  town  of  Niesvij, 
where  several  houses  were  set  on  fire. 

German  troops,  belonging  to  General  von  Bothmer's  army 
group,  by  an  encircling  counterattack,  carried  out  near  and  to 
the  north  of  Olessa,  northwest  of  Buczacz,  on  July  12,  1916, 
drove  back  Russian  troops  which  had  pushed  forward  and  took 
more  than  400  prisoners. 

On  the  Stokhod  there  were  violent  artillery  duels.  German 
aeroplanes  appeared  behind  the  Russian  front  and  dropped  many 
bombs,  doing  considerable  damage. 

Again,  on  July  13, 1916,  the  Russians  advanced  on  the  Stokhod, 
near  Zarecz,  but  were  driven  back  by  troops  belonging  to  Gen- 

THE    GERMAN    STAND    ON    THE    STOKHOD      203 

eral  von  Linsingen's  army,  and  lost  a  few  hundred  men  and 
some  machine  guns  which  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans. 
Other  German  detachments  successfully  repeated  their  attacks 
on  the  east  bank  of  the  Stokhod  River. 

German  aeroplanes  bombarded  Lutsk  and  the  railway  station 
at  Kivertsk,  northeast  of  Lutsk. 

To  the  north  of  the  Sarny-Kovel  railway  the  Russians  gained 
a  footing  in  their  opponents*  positions  on  the  west  bank  of  the 
Stokhod.  A  surprise  attack,  made  by  strong  German  forces  late 
in  the  evening,  drove  them  back  again  to  the  opposite  bank. 

In  the  region  of  the  lower  Lipa,  German  guns  opened  a  violent 
fire  against  the  Russian  trenches  and  inflicted  heavy  losses. 

The  town  of  Polonetchki,  northeast  of  Baranovitchy,  was  at- 
tacked by  German  aeroplanes,  which  threw  many  bombs  and 
caused  considerable  damage. 

West  of  the  Strypa  the  Austro-German  forces  launched  a 
series  of  furious  counterattacks,  as  a  result  of  which  the  Rus- 
sians claimed  to  have  captured  over  3,000  prisoners. 

West  and  northwest  of  Buczacz  the  Russians  made  two  at- 
tacks on  a  broad  front  which  were  repulsed.  During  the  third 
assault,  however,  they  succeeded  in  penetrating  the  Austro-Hun- 
garian  positions  northwest  of  Buczacz,  but  were  completely 
ejected  during  a  most  bitter  night  battle. 

On  July  14,  1916,  the  Germans  under  cover  of  a  violent  fire, 
approached  the  barbed-wire  entanglements  of  the  Russians  on 
the  grounds  in  the  region  of  the  River  Servitch,  a  tributary  of 
the  Niemen.    They  were  repulsed  by  Russian  artillery  fire. 

The  same  day  the  Germans  opened  a  violent  artillery  fire 
against  Russian  lines  eastward  of  Gorodichtche  (Baranovitchy 
sector),  after  they  assumed  the  offensive  in  the  region  of  the 
village  of  Skrobowa,  but  were  repulsed  with  heavy  losses.  A 
little  later,  after  a  continuation  of  the  bombardment,  the  Ger- 
mans took  the  offensive  in  massed  formation  a  little  farther 
north  of  Skrobowa,  but  were  again  repulsed  by  Russian  fire. 

After  having  taken  breath  the  Germans  made  a  fresh  attack 
in  the  region  of  the  same  village,  but  the  Russian  troops  repulsed 
the  Germans  with  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire.    The  Russians  then 

204  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

made  a  counterattack  which  resulted  in  the  capture  of  more 

Repeated  German  attempts  to  advance  toward  the  sector  south- 
west of  the  village  of  Skrobowa  were  also  repulsed  by  Russian 

On  the  front  of  the  Russian  position  southeast  of  Riga  the 
Germans  took  the  offensive  against  the  Russian  sectors  near 
Frantz,  northeast  of  Pulkarn,  but  were  repulsed  by  Russian  ar- 
tillery and  infantry  fire  and  by  hand-grenade  fighting.  Russian 
detachments  which  attempted  to  cross  the  Dvina,  near  Lenne- 
waden,  northwest  of  Friedrichstadt,  were  repulsed.  Numerous 
bombs  were  dropped  from  German  aeroplanes  on  railway  sta- 
tions on  the  Smorgon-Molodetchna  line. 

On  the  right  wing  of  their  Riga  positions,  the  Russians,  sup- 
ported strongly  by  artillery  on  land  and  sea,  made  some  progress 
during  July  15,  1916,  in  the  region  west  of  Kemmern.  On  the 
remainder  of  the  north  front  there  were  some  local  engagements 
which,  however,  did  not  modify  the  general  situation. 

Troops  belonging  to  the  army  of  Field  Marshal  Prince  Leopold 
of  Bavaria  recaptured  some  positions  in  the  region  of  Skrobowa. 
which  had  been  lost  the  previous  day.  The  Russians  in  turn  at- 
tempted to  regain  this  ground  by  making  a  number  of  very 
strong  counterattacks,  but  were  not  successful.  In  this  attempt 
they  lost  a  few  hundred  men  and  six  officers. 

Austrian  troops  dispersed  some  Russian  detachments  south- 
west of  Moldaha.  Near  Jablonica  their  patrols  captured,  by  a 
number  of  daring  undertakings,  a  few  hundred  prisoners. 

Near  Delatyn,  in  the  Carpathian  Mountains,  there  was  in- 
creased activity.  Russian  advance  guards  entered  Delatyn,  but 
were  driven  back  to  the  southern  outskirts.  Another  Russian 
attack  to  the  southwest  of  the  town  broke  down  under  the  Aus- 
trian fire. 

There  also  was  a  renewal  of  the  fighting  in  the  region  south- 
west of  Lutsk,  west  of  Torchin.  A  number  of  Russian  attacks 
were  repulsed  in  this  neighborhood. 

At  other  points  of  the  Volhynian  front,  in  the  region  southeast 
of  Sviniusky,  near  Lutsk,  the  Germans  again  assumed  the  of- 

THE    GERMAN   STAND    ON   THE    STOKHOD      205 

fensive  and  attacked  in  massed  formations.  This  resulted  in  a 
series  of  strong  counterattacks,  which  enabled  the  Russians  to 
maintain  their  positions. 

At  many  points  in  the  region  of  Ostoff  and  Goubine,  Russian 
troops  registered  local  successes  by  very  swiftly  executed  attacks 
which  threatened  to  outflank  their  opponents,  who  were,  there- 
fore, forced  to  retreat  in  great  haste.  As  a  result  of  this,  the 
Russians  captured  one  heavy  and  one  light  battery  as  well  as 
numerous  cannon  which  had  been  installed  in  isolated  locations. 
Upward  of  3,000  prisoners  fell  into  their  hands. 

In  Volhynia,  on  July  16,  1916,  to  the  east  and  southeast  of 
Svinisuky  village,  Russian  troops  under  General  Sakharoff  broke 
down  the  resistance  of  the  Germans.  In  battles  in  the  region 
of  Pustomyty,  more  than  1,000  Germans  and  Austrian  prisoners 
have  been  taken,  together  with  three  machine  guns  and  much 
other  military  booty. 

In  the  region  of  the  lower  Lipa  the  successful  Russian  advance 
continued.  The  Germans  were  making  a  stubborn  resistance. 
In  battles  in  this  region  the  Russians  took  many  prisoners  and 
guns,  as  well  as  fourteen  machine  guns,  a  few  thousand  rifles 
and  other  equipment. 

The  total  number  of  prisoners  taken  on  July  16,  1916,  in  bat- 
tles in  Volhynia,  was  claimed  to  be  314  officers  and  12,637  men. 
The  Russians  also  claimed  to  have  captured  thirty  guns,  of  which 
seventeen  were  heavy  pieces,  and  a  great  many  machine  guns 
and  much  other  material. 

In  the  direction  of  Kirliababa,  on  the  frontier  of  Transylvania, 
Russians  have  occupied  a  set  of  new  positions. 

In  the  region  of  Riga,  skirmishes  on  both  sides  have  been  suc- 
cessful for  the  Russians,  and  parts  of  German  trenches  have  been 
taken,  together  with  prisoners.  Increased  fire  west  and  south 
of  Riga  and  on  the  Dvina  front  preceded  Russian  enterprises. 
Near  Katarinehof,  south  of  Riga,  considerable  Russian  forces 
attacked.     Lively  fighting  developed  here. 

On  the  Riga  front  artillery  engagements  continued  throughout 
July  17  and  18,  1916.  At  Lake  Miadziol,  Russian  infantry  and 
a  lake  flotilla  made  a  surprise  attack  on  the  Germans  in  the 

206  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

night.  Grerman  airmen  manifested  great  activity  from  the  region 
south  of  the  Dvina  to  the  Pinsk  Marshes. 

On  the  Stokhod  there  was  artillery  fighting  at  many  places. 

Russian  troops  repulsed  by  artillery  fire  an  attempt  on  the 
part  of  the  Germans  to  take  the  offensive  north  of  the  Odzer 
Marsh.  Owing  to  the  heavy  rains  the  Dniester  rose  almost  two 
and  one  half  meters,  destroying  bridges,  buttresses  and  ferry- 
boats, and  considerably  curtailing  military  operations. 

On  the  Russian  left  flank,  in  the  region  of  the  Rivers  Black 
and  White  Tscheremosche,  southwest  of  Kuty,  Russian  infantry 
were  advancing  toward  the  mountain  defiles. 

Southwest  of  Delatyn  the  German  troops  drove  back  across 
the  Pruth  Russian  detachments  which  had  crossed  to  the  west- 
em  bank.    The  Germans  took  300  prisoners. 

On  July  19,  1916,  General  Lechitsky's  forces,  which  were 
advancing  from  the  Bukowina  and  southern  Galicia  toward  the 
passes  of  the  Carpathians  leading  to  the  plains  of  Hungary, 
met  with  strong  opposition  in  the  region  of  Jablonica,  situated 
at  the  northern  end  of  a  pass  leading  through  the  Carpathians 
to  the  important  railroad  center  of  Korosmezo,  in  Hungary. 

Jablonica  is  about  thirty-three  miles  west  of  Kuty  and  fifteen 
miles  south  of  Delatyn.  It  is  on  the  right  of  the  sixty-mile  front 
occupied  by  the  advancing  army  of  General  Lechitsky. 

No  let-up  was  noticeable  in  the  battle  along  the  Stokhod,  where 
the  combined  forces  of  the  Central  Powers  seemed  to  be  able  to 
withstand  all  Russian  attacks.  Along  the  Lipa  increased  artil- 
lery fire  was  the  order  of  the  day.  In  Galicia  the  floods  in  the 
Dniester  Valley  continued  to  hamper  military  operations.  Many 
minor  engagements  were  fought  both  in  the  northern  and  cen- 
tral sectors  of  the  front. 





AS  the  month  of  July  approached  its  end  the  Russian  assaults 
-became  more  and  more  violent.  Along  the  entire  front  the 
most  bitter  and  sanguinary  fighting  took  place  day  after  day 
and  night  after  night.  Artillery  bombardments  such  as  never 
had  been  heard  before  raged  at  hundreds  of  places  at  the 
same  time.  Troops  in  masses  that  passed  all  former  experience 
were  employed  by  the  Russians  to  break  the  resistance  of  the 
Teutonic  allies. 

The  latter,  however,  seemed  to  have  their  affairs  well  in 
hand.  At  many  points  they  lost  local  engagements.  At  other 
points  advanced  positions  had  to  be  given  up,  and  at  still  other 
points  occasional  withdrawals  of  a  few  miles  became  inevitable. 
But,  all  in  all,  the  Austro-German  lines  held  considerably  well. 

During  the  last  two  or  three  days  of  July,  1916,  however,  the 
German-Austrian  forces  suffered  some  serious  reverses.  On  July 
21,  1916,  General  Sakharoff  had  succeeded  in  crossing  the  Lipa 
River  and  in  establishing  himself  firmly  on  its  south  bank.  This 
brought  him  within  striking  distance  of  the  important  railway 
point  of  Brody  on  the  Dubno-Lemberg  railway,  very  close  to 
the  Russo-Galician  border,  and  only  fifty  miles  northeast  of 

In  spite  of  the  most  determined  resistance  on  the  part  of  the 
Austrian  troops,  the  Russian  general  was  able  to  push  his  ad- 
vantage during  the  next  few  days,  and  on  July  27,  1916,  Brody 
fell  into  his  hands. 

Less  successful  was  the  continued  attack  on  the  Stokhod  line 
with  the  object  of  reaching  Kovel.  There  the  German- Austrian 
forces  repulsed  all  Russian  advances. 

In  the  Bukowina,  however,  the  Russians  gradually  pushed  on. 
Slowly  but  surely  they  approached  once  more  the  Carpathian 
Mountain  passes. 

N— War  St.  5 

208  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  same  was  true  in  eastern  Galicia.  After  the  fall  of 
Kolomea  in  the  early  part  of  the  month,  the  Russian  advance  had 
progressed  steadily,  even  if  slowly,  in  the  direction  of  Stanislau 
and  Lemberg.  Closer  and  closer  to  Stanislau  the  Russian  forces 
came,  until  on  July  30,  1916,  they  were  well  within  striking  dis- 

In  the  north,  too.  General  Kuropatkin  displayed  greatly  in- 
creased activity  against  Von  Hindenburg's  front,  although  as  a 
result  he  gained  only  local  successes. 

Midsummer,  1916,  then  saw  the  Russians  once  more  on  a 
strong  offensive  along  their  entire  front.  How  far  this  move- 
ment would  ultimately  carry  them,  it  was  hard  to  tell.  Once 
more  the  way  into  the  Hungarian  plains  seemed  to  be  open  to 
the  czar's  soldiers,  and  a  sufficiently  successful  campaign  in  Gali- 
cia might  easily  force  back  the  center  of  the  line  to  such  an 
extent  that  they  might  then  have  prospects  of  regaining  some  of 
the  ground  lost  during  their  great  retreat. 

Interesting  details  of  the  terrific  struggle  which  had  been 
going  on  on  the  eastern  front  for  many  weeks  are  given  in  the 
following  letter  from  an  English  special  correspondent : 

"I  reached  the  headquarters  of  a  certain  Siberian  corps  about 
midnight  on  July  15,  1916,  to  find  the  artillery  preparation, 
which  had  started  at  4  p.  m.,  in  full  blast.  Floundering  around 
through  the  mud,  we  came  almost  on  to  the  positions,  which  were 
suddenly  illuminated  with  fires  started  by  Austrian  shells  in  two 
villages  near  by,  while  the  jagged  flashes  of  bursting  shells  ahead 
caused  us  to  extinguish  the  lights  of  the  motor  and  to  turn  across 
the  fields,  ultimately  arriving  at  the  headquarters  of  a  corps 
which  I  knew  well  on  the  Bzura  line  in  Poland. 

"Sitting  in  a  tiny  room  in  an  unpretentious  cottage  with  the 
commander,  I  followed  the  preparations  which  were  being  made 
for  the  assault.  The  ticking  of  the  instruments  gave  news  from 
the  front,  the  line  of  which  was  visible  from  the  windows  by 
flares  and  rockets  and  burning  villages.  By  midnight  ten 
breaches  had  been  made  in  the  barbed  wire,  each  approximately 
twenty  paces  broad,  and  the  attacks  were  ordered  for  three 
o'clock  in  the  morning. 


"Rising  at  5  a.  m.  I  accompanied  the  commander  of  the  corps 
to  his  observation  point  on  a  ridge.  The  attacks  had  already- 
swept  away  the  resistance  of  the  enemy's  first  line. 

"Thousands  of  prisoners  were  in  our  hands,  and  the  enemy- 
was  already  retiring  rapidly.  He  therefore  halted  but  a  few 
minutes,  pushing  on  to  the  advanced  positions.  The  commander 
stopped  repeatedly  by  the  roadside  tapping  the  field  wires, 
and  giving  further  instructions  as  to  the  disposition  of  the 

"As  we  moved  forward  we  began  to  meet  the  flood  from  the 
battle  field,  first  the  lightly  wounded,  and  then  Austrian  prison- 
ers helping  our  heavily  wounded,  who  were  in  carts. 

"Before  we  were  halfway  to  the  positions  a  cavalry  general 
splashed  with  mud  met  the  commander  and  informed  him  that 
six  guns  were  already  in  our  hands.  The  next  report  from  the 
field  telephone  increased  the  number  to  ten  guns,  with  2,000 
prisoners,  including  some  Germans. 

"At  quite  an  early  hour  the  entire  country  was  alive,  and  every 
department  of  the  army  beginning  to  move  forward.  All  the 
roads  were  choked  with  ammunition  parks,  batteries,  and  trans- 
ports following  up  our  advancing  troops;  while  the  stream  of 
returning  caissons,  the  wounded,  and  the  prisoners  equaled  in 
volume  the  tide  of  -the  advancing  columns. 

"The  commander  took  up  his  position  on  a  ridge  which  but  a 
few  hours  before  had  been  our  advanced  line.  Thence  the 
country  could  be  observed  for  miles.  Each  road  was  black  with 
moving  troops,  pushing  forward  on  the  heels  of  the  enemy,  whose 
field  gun  shells  were  bursting  on  the  ridges  just  beyond. 

"Here  I  met  the  commander  of  the  division  and  his  staff. 
Plans  were  immediately  made  for  following  up  our  success.  Evi- 
dently the  size  of  our  group  was  discernible  from  some  distant 
enemy  observation  point,  for  within  five  minutes  came  the  howl 
of  an  approaching  projectile  and  a  6-inch  shell  burst  with  a 
terrific  crash  in  a  neighboring  field.  Its  arrival,  which  was 
followed  at  regular  intervals  by  others  ranging  from  4-inch 
upward,  was  apparently  unnoticed  by  the  general,  whose  inter- 
est was  entirely  occupied  with  pressing  his  advantage. 

210  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

"So  swift  was  our  advance  that  nearly  half  an  hour  elapsed 
before  the  newly  strung  field  wires  were  working  properly. 

"The  fire  had  become  so  persistent  that  our  group  scattered 
and  hundreds  of  prisoners,  whose  black  mass  could  be  seen  by  the 
enemy,  were  removed  beyond  the  possibility  of  observation. 
Then  the  corps  commander,  stretched  on  straw  on  the  crest  of 
the  ridge,  with  his  maps  spread  out,  dictated  directions  to  the 
operator  of  the  field  telephone  who  crouched  beside  him. 

"Before  and  beneath  us  lay  the  abandoned  line  of  Austrian 
trenches,  separated  from  ours  by  a  small  stream,  where  since 
daylight  the  heroic  engineers  were  laboring  under  heavy  shell 
fire  to  construct  a  bridge  to  enable  our  cavalry  and  guns  to  pass 
in  pursuit. 

"Leaving  the  general  we  proceeded.  Our  troops  had  forced  the 
line  here  at  3  a.  m.,  wading  under  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire 
in  water  and  marsh  above  their  waists,  often  to  their  armpits. 
The  Austrian  end  of  the  bridge  was  a  horrible  place,  as  it  was 
congested  with  dead,  dying  and  horribly  wounded  men,  who,  as 
the  ambulances  were  on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  could  not  be 
removed.  A  sweating  officer  was  urging  forward  the  completion 
of  the  bridge,  which  was  then  barely  wide  enough  to  permit  the 
waiting  cavalry  squadrons  to  pass  in  single  file.  On  the  opposite 
bank  waited  the  ambulance  to  get  across  after  the  troops  had 
passed.  A  number  of  German  ambulance  men  were  working 
furiously  over  their  own  and  the  Austrian  wounded,  many  of 
whom,  I  think,  must  have  been  wounded  by  their  own  guns  in  an 
attempt  to  prevent  the  bridging  of  the  stream.  A  more  bloody 
scene  I  have  not  witnessed,  though  within  a  few  hours  the  entire 
place  was  probably  cleared  up. 

"Passing  on  I,  for  the  first  time,  witnessed  the  actual  taking 
of  prisoners,  and  watched  their  long  blue  files  as  they  passed 
out  from  their  own  trenches  and  were  formed  in  groups  allotted 
to  Russian  soldiers,  who  served  as  guides  rather  than  guards, 
and  sent  to  the  rear. 

"Near  here  I  encountered  about  fifty  captured  Germans  and 
talked  with  about  a  dozen  of  them.  Certainly  none  of  them 
showed  the  smallest  lack  of  morale  or  any  depression. 


"By  noon  sufficient  details  of  the  fighting  were  available  to 
indicate  that  this  corps  alone  had  taken  between  three  and  five 
thousand  prisoners  and  twenty  guns,  of  which  four  are  said  to 
be  howitzers.  When  one  is  near  the  front  the  perspective  of 
operations  is  nearly  always  faulty,  and  it  was,  therefore,  impos- 
sible to  estimate  the  effect  of  the  movement  as  a  whole,  but  I 
understand  that  all  the  other  corps  engaged  had  great  success 
and  everywhere  advanced." 




THE  six  months  ending  with  March,  1916,  had  been  not  only 
an  eventful  period  in  the  Balkans,  but  a  most  unfortunate  one 
for  the  Allies.  In  no  theater  of  the  war  had  they  sustained  such 
a  series  of  smashing  disasters  in  diplomacy  as  well  as  on  the 
field  of  battle.  First  of  all,  early  in  the  fall,  the  Austrians  had 
begun  their  fourth  invasion  of  Serbia,  this  time  heavily  reen- 
forced  by  the  Germans  and  in  such  numbers  that  it  was  obvious 
before  the  first  attack  was  begun  that  Serbia  by  herself  would 
not  be  able  to  hold  back  the  invaders.  And  then,  hardly  had 
the  real  fighting  begun,  when  Bulgaria  definitely  cast  her  lot 
in  with  the  Teutons  and  Hungarians  and  attacked  the  Serbians 
from  the  rear. 

While  it  was  true  that  King  Ferdinand  and  his  governing 
clique  had  made  this  decision  months  before,  it  is  nevertheless  a 
fact  that  it  was  probably  the  blundering  diplomacy  of  the  Allies 
which  was  responsible  for  this  action  on  the  part  of  the  Bul- 
garians. Under  all  circumstances  King  Ferdinand  would  prob- 
ably have  favored  the  Teutons,  since  by  birth  and  early  training 
he  is  an  Austrian  and,  moreover,  as  he  once  expressed  himself 
publicly,  he  was  firmly  convinced  that  the  Teutons  would  ulti- 
mately win.  But  the  Bulgarian  people  are  sentimentally  inclined 
toward  the  Russians  and  dislike  the  Germans.  Had  not  the 
diplomatic  policy  of  the  Allies  played  into  the  hands  of  the  king, 
they  would  naturally  have  turned  toward  the  Allies. 

Above  all  else  the  Bulgarians  have  desired  either  the  freedom 
or  the  annexation  of  Macedonia,  which  is  almost  entirely  inhab- 




ited  by  Bulgars.  The  Germans  made  the  definite  promise  that 
Macedonia  should  be  theirs  if  they  allied  themselves  with  them. 
The  Allies  endeavored  to  promise  as  much,  but  the  protests  of 
Greece  and  Serbia  stood  in  the  way.  Neither  of  these  two  nations 
was  willing  to  give  up  its  possessions  in  this  disputed  territory, 
though  later,  when  she  saw  that  her  very  existence  was  at  stake, 
Serbia  did  make  some  concessions,  but  not  until  after  Bulgaria 
had  already  taken  her^decision.  Had  the  Allies  disregarded  these 
greedy  bickerings  on  the  part  of  her  minor  allies  and  promised  as 
much  as  the  Germans  had  promised,  there  is  no  doubt  that  the 
popular  sentiment  in  Bulgaria  would  have  been  strong  enough 
to  block  Ferdinand's  policy. 

In  Greece,  too,  there  had  been  the  same  blundering  policy. 
Here  the  situation  was  much  the  same  as  in  Bulgaria ;  the  king, 
with  his  Teutonic  affiliations,  was  in  favor  of  the  Germans,  while 
the  sentiment  of  the  people  was  in  favor  of  the  Allies.  Moreover, 
here  the  popular  sentiment  was  voiced  by  and  personified  in 
quite  the  strongest  statesman  in  Greece,  Eleutherios  Venizelos. 
Had  the  Allies  made  known  to  the  Greeks  definitely  and  in  a 
public  manner  just  what  they  were  to  expect  by  joining  the 
Entente,  the  policy  of  the  king  would  have  been  frustrated.  But 
here  again  the  ambitions  of  Italy  in  Asia  Minor  and  in  the 
Greek  archipelago  caused  the  same  hesitation.  The  result 
was  that  popular  enthusiasm  was  so  dampened  that  the  king 
was  able  to  pursue  his  own  policy. 

Then  came  the  disastrous  invasion  of  Serbia;  the  Serbian 
armies  were  overwhelmed  and  practically  annihilated,  a  few 
remnants  only  being  able  to  escape  through  Albania.  The  as- 
sistance that  was  sent  in  the  form  of  an  Anglo-French  army 
under  General  Sarrail  came  just  too  late.  Having  swept  Mace- 
donia clear  of  the  Serbians,  the  Bulgarians  next  attacked  the 
forces  under  Sarrail  and  hurled  them  back  into  the  Greek  terri- 
tory about  Saloniki. 

The  Italians,  too,  had  attempted  to  take  part  in  the  Balkan 
operations,  but  with  their  own  national  interests  obviously 
placed  above  the  general  interests  of  the  whole  Entente.  They 
had  landed  on  the  Albanian  coast,  at  Durazzo  and  Avlona,  hoping 

214  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

to  hold  territory  which  they  desire  ultimately  to  annex.  Then 
followed  the  invasion  of  Montenegro  and  Albania  by  the  Aus- 
trians  and  the  Bulgarians,  and  the  Italians  were  driven  out  of 
Durazzo,  retaining  only  a  foothold  in  Avlona. 

By  March,  1916,  all  major  military  operations  had  ceased. 
Except  for  the  British  and  French  at  Saloniki  and  the  Italians 
at  Avlona,  the  Teutons  and  the  Bulgarians  had  cleared  the  whole 
Balkan-  peninsula  south  of  the  Danube  of  their  enemies  and 
were  in  complete  possession.  The  railroad  running  down 
through  Serbia  and  Bulgaria  to  Constantinople  was  repaired 
where  the  Serbians  had  had  time  to  injure  it,  and  communica- 
tions were  established  between  Berlin  and  the  capital  of  the 
Ottoman  Empire,  which  had  been  one  of  the  main  objects  of 
the  campaign. 

In  the  beginning,  however,  the  Bulgarians  did  not  venture 
to  push  their  lines  across  the  Greek  frontier,  though  this  is  a 
part  of  Macedonia  which  is  essentially  Bulgarian  in  population. 
There  are  several  reasons  why  the  Bulgarians  should  have  re- 
strained themselves.  The  traditional  hatred  which  the  Greeks 
feel  for  the  Bulgarians,  so  bitter  that  an  American  cannot  com- 
prehend its  depths,  would  undoubtedly  have  been  so  roused  by 
the  presence  of  Bulgarian  soldiers  on  Greek  soil  that  the  king 
would  not  have  been  able  to  have  opposed  successfully  Venizelos 
and  his  party,  who  were  strong  adherents  of  the  Allies.  This 
would  not  have  suited  German  policy,  though  to  the  victorious 
Bulgarians  it  would  probably  not  have  made  much  difference. 
Another  reason  was,  as  has  developed  since,  that  the  Bulgarian 
communications  were  but  feebly  organized,  and  a  further  ad- 
vance would  have  been  extremely  precarious.  The  roads  through 
Macedonia  are  few,  and  the  best  are  not  suited  to  automobile 
traffic.  The  few  prisoners  that  the  French  and  English  were 
able  to  take  evinced  the  fact  that  the  Bulgarians  were  being 
badly  supplied  and  that  the  soldiers  were  starved  to  the  point 
of  exhaustion.  And  finally,  from  a  military  point  of  view,  the 
Allied  troops  were  now  in  the  most  favorable  position.  Their 
lines  were  drawn  in  close  to  their  base,  Saloniki,  with  short, 
interior    communications.     The    Bulgarians,  on   the    contrary, 


were  obliged  to  spread  themselves  around  the  wide  semicircle 
formed  by  the  Anglo-French  lines.  To  have  taken  Saloniki 
would  have  been  for  them  an  extremely  costly  undertaking,  if, 
indeed,  it  would  have  at  all  been  possible. 

On  the  other  hand,  it  was  equally  obvious  that  the  Allies  were 
not,  and  would  not  be,  for  a  long  time  to  come,  in  a  position  to 
direct  an  effective  offensive  against  the  Bulgarians  in  Mace- 
donia. That  they  and  their  German  allies  realized  this  was 
apparent  from  the  fact  that  the  German  forces  now  began  with- 
drawing in  large  numbers. 

The  Bulgarians,  however,  did  not  attempt  to  assist  their  Ger- 
man allies  on  any  of  the  other  fronts,  a  fact  which  throws  some 
light  on  the  Bulgarian  policy.  Naturally,  it  is  in  the  interests 
of  the  Bulgarians  that  the  Teutons  should  win  the  war,  there- 
fore it  might  have  been  expected  that  they  would  support  them 
on  other  fronts,  notably  in  Galicia.  That  this  has  never  been 
done  shows  conclusively  that  the  alliance  with  the  Germans  is 
not  popular  among  the  Bulgarians.  They  have,  rather  re- 
luctantly, been  willing  to  fight  on  their  own  territory,  or  what 
they  considered  rightly  their  own  territory,  but  they  have  not 
placed  themselves  at  the  disposal  of  the  Germans  on  the  other 
fronts.  It  is  obvious  that  Ferdinand  has  not  trusted  to  oppose 
his  soldiers  against  the  Russians. 

Meanwhile  the  forces  under  Sarrail  were  being  daily  aug- 
mented and  their  position  about  Saloniki  was  being  strength- 
ened. By  this  time  all  the  Serbians  who  had  fled  through  Al- 
bania, including  the  aged  King  Peter,  had  been  transported  to 
the  island  of  Corfu,  where  a  huge  sanitarium  was  established, 
for  few  were  the  refugees  that  did  not  require  some  medical 
treatment.  Cholera  did,  in  fact,  break  out  among  them,  which 
caused  a  protest  on  the  part  of  the  Greek  Government.  Just  how 
many  Serbians  arrived  at  Corfu  has  never  been  definitely  stated, 
but  recent  reports  would  indicate  that  they  numbered  approxi- 
mately 100,000.  All  those  fit  for  further  campaigning  needed  to 
be  equipped  anew  and  rearmed. 

216  THE    STORY  OP   THE   GREAT   WAR 



ON  March  27,  1916,  a  squadron  of  seven  German  aeroplanes 
attempted  to  make  a  raid  on  Saloniki.  Their  purpose  was 
to  drop  bombs  on  the  British  and  French  warships  in  the  har- 
bor, but  the  fire  of  the  Allied  guns  frustrated  their  efforts  and 
four  of  the  aeroplanes  were  brought  down.  But  during  the 
encounter  some  of  these  aircraft  dropped  bombs  into  the  city 
and  twenty  Greek  civilians  were  killed,  one  of  the  bombs  falling 
before  the  residence  of  General  Moschopoulos,  commander  of 
the  Greek  forces  in  Saloniki. 

Deep  resentment  against  the  Germans  flared  up  throughout 
Greece  on  account  of  this  raid,  which  found  expression  in  bitter 
editorials  in  the  Liberal  press  against  the  continued  neutrality 
of  Greece.  The  question  of  the  declaration  of  martial  law  was 
raised  in  an  exciting  session  of  the  Chamber  of  Deputies,  which 
lasted  till  late  at  night.  The  Government  discouraged  all  hos- 
tile comment  on  the  action  of  the  Germans,  and  Premier  Skou- 
loudis  declined  to  continue  a  debate  involving  discussion  of 
foreign  relations  "because  the  highest  interests  impose  silence.'' 
Notwithstanding  the  attitude  of  the  government  the  raid  was 
characterized  in  the  chamber  as  "simply  assassination''  and  as 
"German  frightfulness."  Plans  were  started  to  hold  mass  meet- 
ings in  Athens  and  Saloniki,  but  the  police  forbade  them.  At 
the  funerals  of  the  victims,  however,  large  crowds  gathered  in 
spite  of  the  efforts  of  the  police  to  disperse  them  and  the  cere- 
monies were  marked  by  cries  of  "Down  with  the  barbarians!" 
and  "Down  with  the  Germans!" 

Hardly  had  this  agitation  died  down  when  Venizelos,  who  for 
a  long  time  had  remained  silent,  so  aloof  from  politics  that,  to 
quote  his  own  statement,  "I  do  not  even  read  the  reports  of 
the  proceedings  in  the  Chamber,"  resumed  active  participation 
in  the  nation's  affairs  by  giving  out  a  lengthy  interview  to  the 


press,  as  well  as  with  an  editorial  in  his  own  personal  organ. 
This  latter  occupied  an  entire  page  and  reviewed  completely  the 
position  of  the  Greek  monarch  since  the  dissolution  of  the  last 
Chamber  of  Deputies.  Referring  to  the  king's  alleged  char- 
acterization of  himself  as  a  '^dreamer,"  M.  Venizelos  said : 

*'By  keeping  the  country  in  a  state  of  chronic  peaceful  war 
through  purposeless  mobilization,  the  present  government  has 
brought  Greece  to  the  verge  of  economic,  material  and  moral 
bankruptcy.  This  policy,  unhappily,  is  not  a  dream,  but  down- 
right folly."  He  further  laid  great  stress  on  the  Bulgarian  peril, 
pointing  out  that  the  utmost  to  be  gained  by  the  present  policy 
would  be  to  leave  Greece  the  same  size>  while  Bulgaria,  flushed 
with  victory,  trained  for  war,  enlarged  by  the  addition  of  Serbia 
and  Macedonia  and  allied  with  the  Turks,  would  not  wait  long 
before  falling  on  her  southern  neighbor.  "Who  thinks,"  he 
continued,  '*that  under  these  conditions  that  Greece,  unaided, 
could  drive  the  Bulgars  from  Macedonia,  once  they  have  seized 
it,  is  a  fool.  The  politicians  who  do  not  see  this  inevitable  dan- 
ger, are  blind,  and  unfortunate  are  the  kings  following  such  poli- 
ticians, and  more  unfortunate  still  the  lands  where  sovereigns 
fall  their  victims." 

And,  indeed,  the  ex-premier's  references  to  the  economic  ruin 
of  the  country  were  strongly  supported  by  the  dispatches  that 
had  for  some  time  been  coming  from  the  Greek  capital.  "Greece," 
said  a  prominent  official  to  a  press  correspondent,  "is  much  more 
likely  to  be  starved  into  war  than  Germany  is  to  be  starved  out 
of  it." 

The  deficit  in  the  Greek  treasury  for  the  previous  year  was^ 
now  shown  to  have  amounted  to  £17,000,000,  or  $85,000,000. 
The  budget  for  1916  authorized  an  expenditure  of  $100,000,000, 
which  was  double  the  entire  state  revenues.  For  the  masses  the 
situation  was  daily  becoming  more  difficult.  The  streets  of 
Athens  were  said  to  be  alive  with  the  beggars,  while  the  island  of 
Samos  was  in  a  sporadic  state  of  revolt.  At  Piraeus  and  Patras 
there  were  disquieting  demonstrations  of  popular  discontent 
with  the  increasing  cost  of  living.  Many  commodities  had  more 
than  doubled  in  price.     This  situation  was  largely  due  to  the 

218  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

mobilization,  as  in  the  case  of  the  fishermen.  As  most  of  them 
were  with  the  colors,  the  price  of  fish,  which  had  hitherto  been 
one  of  the  main  food  supplies,  had  become  prohibitive  to  the 
poorer  families. 

The  sentiment  of  the  people  was  further  expressed  on  April 
7,  1916,  when  the  Greeks  celebrated  the  100th  anniversary  of 
their  national  independence.  On  this  occasion  Venizelos  ap- 
peared in  public  for  the  first  time  since  his  retirement  from 
political  life,  after  he  had  been  obliged  to  resign  by  the  king. 
When  he  left  the  cathedral  in  Athens,  where  services  were  held, 
thousands  of  persons  followed  his  motor  car,  cheering  enthusi- 
astically. Finally  his  car  could  proceed  no  farther,  being  densely 
packed  about  by  the  people,  who  broke  forth  into  deafening 
cheers  and  shouts  of  "Long  live  our  national  leader!"  and 
"Long  live  Venizelos  V* 

At  about  this  time,  on  April  14,  1916,  a  new  critical  situation 
was  precipitated  between  the  Allies  and  the  Greek  Government. 
On  that  date  the  British  Minister  at  Athens  had  asked  per- 
mission of  the  Greek  Government  to  transport  Serbian  troops 
from  Corfu  to  Saloniki  by  way  of  Patras,  Larissa,  and  Volo, 
which  involved  the  use  of  the  Peloponnesian  railway.  This  was 
peremptorily  refused  as  involving  a  breach  of  Greek  neutrality. 

Under  ordinary  conditions  transports  would  have  conveyed 
the  Serbians  from  Corfu  to  Saloniki,  such  a  trip  requiring  less 
than  three  days.  But  the  German  submarines  had  been  so 
active  in  these  waters  of  late  that  the  Allies  desired  to  evade 
this  danger,  contending  that  it  was  with  the  connivance  of  the 
Greek  Government  officials  that  the  Germans  were  able  to  main- 
tain submarine  bases  among  the  islands.  Moreover,  they  also 
contended  that  the  cases  were  different  from  what  it  would  have 
been  had  the  request  concerned  French  or  British  troops.  The 
Greeks  were  allies  of  the  Serbians,  bound  to  them  by  a  formal 
treaty,  and  though  they  had  refused  to  assist  them  in  a  military 
sense,  as  the  terms  of  the  treaty  demanded,  they  might  at  least 
help  them  in  their  need.  Two  days  later,  on  April  16,  1916,  the 
Chamber  of  Deputies  adjourned  for  the  session,  which  left  the 
whole  matter  in  the  hands  of  the  government.     However,  this 

EVENTS    IN    GREECE  219 

question  hung  fire  for  some  time,  and  later  dispatches  would 
indicate  that  the  Allies  did  not  press  their  point,  for  eventually 
when  the  arrival  of  the  Serbian  troops  in  Saloniki  was  an- 
nounced, it  was  stated  incidentally  that  they  had  come  by  means 
of  transports. 

But  meanwhile  Venizelos  was  continuing  his  campaign 
against  the  ministry.  On  April  16,  1916,  the  Liberals  had  at- 
tempted to  hold  several  public  meetings  in  Athens,  which  were 
vigorously  broken  up  by  the  police,  or,  according  to  some  re- 
ports, by  agents  of  the  government  in  civilian  dress.  The  follow- 
ing day  Venizelos  gave  out  an  interview  to  the  press  in  which 
he  said: 

"I  beg  you  to  bring  the  events  of  yesterday  and  the  earnest 
protest  of  a  majority  of  the  Greeks  to  the  knowledge  of  the 
American  people,  who  have  struggled  for  so  long  to  establish 
free  speech  as  the  fundamental  right  of  a  free  people.  Here 
in  Greece  we  are  confronted  by  the  question  whether  we  are  to 
have  a  democracy  presided  over  by  a  king  or  whether  at  this 
hour  of  our  history  we  must  accept  the  doctrine  of  the  divine 
rights  of  kings.  The  present  government  represents  in  no  sense 
the  majority  of  the  Greek  people.  We  Liberals,  in  the  course  of 
a  year  received  the  vote  of  the  majority.  At  the  last  election, 
which  was  nothing  more  than  a  burlesque  on  the  free  exercise 
of  the  right  of  suffrage,  we  were  not  willing  to  participate  in 
a  farcical  formality.  .  .  .  Now  it  is  even  sought  to  deny  us  the 
right  of  free  speech.  Our  meetings  were  held  within  inclosed 
buildings.  Those  who  came  to  them  were  invited,  but  the  police 
threw  out  our  doorkeepers,  put  in  their  own  and  let  enter 
whomsoever  they,  the  police,  wanted  to  be  present  at  the 

It  was  now  evident  that  Venizelos  had  determined  to  fight  the 
present  government  to  the  bitter  end. 

On  May  7, 1916,  it  was  demonstrated  that  the  contention  of  the 
king,  that  the  agitation  in  favor  of  Venizelos  and  the  demon- 
strations in  his  favor  were  largely  artificial,  was  not  true,  in  one 
electoral  district  of  Greece  at  least.  Venizelos  had  been  nomi- 
nated candidate  for  deputy  to  the  National  Assembly  in  My- 

220  THE    STORY    OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

telene,  and  when  the  election  took  place,  on  the  above  date,  he 
was  elected  with  practically  no  opposition  and  amid  a  tremendous 
enthusiasm.  On  the  following  day,  May  8,  1916,  at  a  by-election 
in  Kavalla,  Eastern  Macedonia,  Constantine  Jourdanod,  a  can- 
didate of  the  Venizelos  Liberty  party,  was  also  elected  .Ci  deputy 
to  the  National  Assembly  by  an  85  per  cent  majority  vote. 

But  these  were  merely  demonstrations — meant  merely  as  in- 
dications of  popular  sentiment — for  neither  Venizelos  nor  the 
Kavalla  representative  had  any  intention  of  taking  their  seats 
in  the  chamber,  which  they  considered  illegally  elected. 

Meanwhile  practically  no  military  activity  had  been  displayed. 
On  March  17,  1916,  a  dispatch  was  issued  from  Vienna  to  the 
effect  that  the  Austrian  army  had  reached  the  vicinity  of  Avlona 
and  had  engaged  the  Italians  in  pitched  battle  outside  the  town, 
into  which  they  were  driving  them.  But  apparently  there  was 
little  truth  in  this  report,  for  some  weeks  later  a  body  of  Italian 
troops  were  reported  to  have  crossed  the  Greek  frontier  in 
Epirus,  which  caused  an  exchange  of  notes  between  the  Greek 
and  Italian  governments,  by  no  means  the  best  of  friends,  on 
account  of  their  conflicting  ambitions  in  Albania.  Further  en- 
counters between  both  Austrians  and  Bulgarians  and  the 
Italians  in  Avlona  were  reported  during  the  spring,  but  appar- 
ently the  Italians  were  well  able  to  hold  their  own. 

There  were,  however,  indications  that  the  Allies  in  Saloniki 
had  been  steadily  strengthening  their  positions  and  augmenting 
their  numbers,  and  that,  conscious  of  their  growing  strength, 
they  were  throwing  out  their  lines.  In  the  first  week  in  May 
came  a  dispatch  announcing  that  thay  had  occupied  Fiorina,  a 
small  town  only  some  fifteen  miles  south  of  Monastir,  though 
still  on  Greek  territory. 

That  there  was  really  some  truth  in  these  announcements; 
that  the  Allies  were  really  showing  some  indications  of  expand- 
ing their  lines  and  were  assuming  a  threatening  attitude,  was 
indicated  by  the  next  move  made  on  the  board,  this  time  by  the 
Bulgarians;  a  move,  however,  which  was  obviously  of  a  defen- 
sive nature,  thoug'h  at  the  time  it  seemed  to  portend  a  Bulgarian 

EVENTS    IN    GREECE  221 

On  May  26,  1916,  the  Bulgarians  for  the  first  time  ventured 
across  the  Greek  frontier.  And  not  only  did  they  cross  the 
frontier,  but,  instead  of  attacking  the  Allies,  they  forced  the 
Greek  forces  occupying  a  point  of  strategic  value  to  evacuate  it 
and  occupied  it  themselves. 

Fort  Rupel,  on  the  Struma  River,  and  north  of  Demir  Hissar, 
is  about  six  miles  within  Greek  territory.  It  commands  a  deep 
gorge,  or  defile,  which  forms  a  sort  of  natural  passageway 
through  which  troops  can  be  marched  easily  into  Greek  territory 
from  Bulgaria.  To  either  side  tower  difficult  mountains  and 
rocky  hills.  On  account  of  these  natural  features  Greece  had 
fortified  this  defile  after  the  Balkan  Wars  so  that  she  might 
command  it  in  case  of  a  Bulgarian  invasion.  On  the  commanding 
prominences  the  Greeks  had  also  built  fortifications. 

It  was  the  chief,  the  most  important,  of  these  forts  that  the 
Bulgarians  took.  A  courier  was  sent  forward  with  notice  to  the 
Greek  commander  that  he  had  two  hours  in  which  to  evacuate 
the  position  with  his  troops.  This  he  did  peacefully,  and  before 
evening  the  Bulgarians  were  installed,  though  it  was  said  that 
they  had  given  due  assurances  that  their  occupation  was  merely 
a  temporary  measure  undertaken  as  a  defensive  precaution,  and 
that  as  soon  as  the  need  should  cease  the  fort  would  be  returned 
to  Greece. 

On  the  following  day  came  the  announcement  that  the  Bui' 
garians,  in  strong  force,  had  deployed  from  Fort  Rupel  and  had 
also  occupied  Fort  Dragotin  and  Fort  Kanivo.  At  the  same 
time  unusual  activity  on  the  part  of  the  Bulgarians  was  also 
reported  from  Xanthi.  Here,  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Mesta 
River,  which  for  some  distance  from  its  mouth  forms  the  Bulgar- 
Greek  boundary,  the  Bulgarians  were  collecting  material  for 
building  pontoon  bridges. 

Naturally  this  action  on  the  part  of  the  Bulgarians  caused 
wild  excitement  throughout  Greece.  The  government  organs 
stated  that  the  forts  had  been  taken  by  German  forces,  but  this 
was  soon  proved  to  be  untrue. 

In  reporting  this  movement  the  Bulgarian  Government  added, 
by  way  of  explanation  and  excuse: 

222  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

"Two  months  ago  the  Anglo-French  troops  began  the 
abandonment  of  the  fortified  camp  at  Saloniki  and  started  a 
movement  toward  our  frontier.  The  principal  enemy  forces 
were  stationed  in  the  Vardar  Valley  and  to  the  eastward  through 
Dovatupete  to  the  Struma  Valley,  and  to  the  westward  through 
the  district  of  Subotsko  and  Vodena  to  Fiorina.  A  part  of  the 
reconstituted  Serbian  army  has  also  been  landed  at  Saloniki. 
Artillery  fire  has  occurred  daily  during  the  past  month.** 

Evidently  Bulgaria  was  anxious  to  impress  on  the  outside 
world  the  fact  that  she  had  invaded  Greek  territory  entirely 
for  defensive  purposes,  for  only  several  days  later  a  correspond- 
ent of  the  Associated  Press  was  allowed  to  send  through  a  report 
of  an  inspection  he  had  made  of  the  Bulgarian  camp,  something 
that  had  not  previously  been  permitted.  From  this  report  it 
was  evident  that  the  Bulgarian  army  was  not  contemplating 
a  forward  movement. 

These  assurances  probably  had  their  effect  in  calming  the 
excitement  in  Greece,  a  result  which  Germany  was  no  doubt 
wishful  of  obtaining.  Nevertheless  the  fact  that  the  govern- 
ment had  quietly  permitted  the  Bulgarians  to  take  the  forts  was 
not  by  any  means  calculated  to  increase  its  popularity  with 
the  masses  and  made  for  the  strengthening  of  the  Venizelos 

In  spite  of  the  formal  protests  which  the  Greek  Government 
made  against  the  occupation  of  its  territory  and  fortifications 
by  Bulgarian  troops,  there  was  not  a  little  reason  for  suspecting 
that  the  Skouloudis  government  was  working  on  some  secret 
understanding,  if  not  with  the  Bulgarians,  then  with  the  Ger- 
mans. At  least  this  was  the  general  impression  that  was 
created  in  France  and  England,  as  reflected  in  the  daily  press. 

On  June  8,  1916,  it  was  reported  from  Saloniki  that  the 
Allies  were  about  to  institute  a  commercial  blockade  of  Greek 
ports,  preliminary  to  presenting  certain  demands,  the  exact 
nature  of  which  was  not  given  out,  but  which  were  expected  to 
include  the  demobilization  of  the  Greek  army. 

The  notice  of  the  blockade  again  aroused  the  excitement  of 
the  Greek  population,  but  not  so  much  against  the  Allies  as 


against  the  Skouloudis  government.  And  this  was  because  what 
the  Allies  were  expected  to  demand  was  just  what  the  majority 
of  the  Greek  masses  seemed  most  to  want,  the  demobilization  of 
the  army ;  the  return  to  their  vocations  of  the  thousands  of  work- 
ingmen  with  the  colors.  The  Venizelos  party  was  especially  in 
favor  of  such  a  measure,  for  its  leaders  claimed  that  it  was 
because  the  mass  of  the  voters  was  with  the  army  and  was 
therefore  deprived  of  their  suffrage,  that  the  sentiment  of  the 
Greek  people  could  not  be  determined. 

On  June  9,  1916,  it  was  announced  from  Athens  that  the  king 
had  signed  an  order  demobilizing  twelve  glasses  of  the  army, 
amounting  to  150,000  men.  But  this  order  was  not,  for  some 
reason,  put  into  execution,  nor  was  there  any  indication  of  the 
Allies  putting  an  end  to  the  blockade.  On  the  contrary,  on  the 
same  day  it  was  announced  that  the  Greek  captain  of  the  port 
at  Saloniki  had  been  removed  and  a  French  naval  officer  had 
been  put  in  his  place.  Entry  to  the  port  had  also  been  refused 
to  Greek  ships  from  Kavala,  and  an  embargo  had  been  placed 
on  Greek  ships  in  French  ports.  Obviously  the  Allies  were 
demanding  something  more  than  the  demobilization  of  the  army. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  they  had  not  yet  formally  presented  their 

From  later  reports  it  was  shown  that  the  Allies  had  prepared 
their  demands  formally  and  that  they  were  to  have  been  pre- 
sented on  June  13,  1916.  But  the  evening  before,  on  the  12th, 
certain  events  took  place  in  Athens  which  caused  them  to  delay 
the  presentation  of  their  note,  holding  it  back  for  revision. 

On  the  12th  a  military  fete  had  been  held  at  the  Stadium, 
at  which  members  of  the  British  Legation  were  present,  includ- 
ing the  military  attache  and  Admiral  Palmer,  the  new  chief  of 
the  British  Naval  Mission.  When  the  king  and  his  suite  ap- 
peared at  the  Stadium,  Greek  police  officers  immediately 
grouped  themselves  around  the  British  representatives,  giving 
the  inference  that  the  royal  party  needed  to  be  protected  from 
them.  The  indignant  Englishmen  immediately  left  the  Stadium. 
After  the  fete  a  mob  collected  in  the  street  and  began  a  demon- 
stration against  the  Allies.    The  crowd  was  escorted  by  fifty  or 

0— War  St.  5 

224  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

sixty  policemen  in  uniform.  It  first  marched  to  the  Hotel 
Grande  Bretagne,  where  the  French  Minister  resided,  and  began 
shouting  insulting  remarks.  Next  the  British  Legation  build- 
ing was  visited  and  a  similar  hostile  demonstration  was  made. 
Thence  the  mob  proceeded  to  the  office  of  the  "Nea  Hellas,"  a 
Venizelist  journal,  hurled  stones  through  the  windows  and  as- 
saulted the  editor  and  his  staff.  The  editor,  in  defending  him- 
self, fired  a  revolver  over  the  heads  of  the  mob,  whereupon  he 
was  arrested  and  thrown  into  jail.  During  the  same  evening 
another  demonstration  was  made  in  a  theater,  in  which  the 
performers  made  most  insulting  remarks  regarding  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  Allies.  Several  meetings  were  held  in  other 
parts  of  the  city  at  the  same  time,  at  which  resolutions  were 
passed  against  the  Allies,  one  of  these  resolutions  denouncing 
the  conduct  of  the  Allies  toward  neutral  countries,  "and 
especially  their  conduct  toward  the  President  of  the  United 

Finally,  on  June  23,  1916,  the  full  text  of  the  demands  of  the 
Allies  on  Greece,  signed  by  the  representatives  of  France,  Great 
Britain,  and  Russia  and  indorsed  by  Italy,  was  given  out,  simul- 
taneously with  the  official  announcement  that  all  the  conditions 
had  been  accepted  by  the  Greek  Government.  The  text  was  as 
follows : 

"As  they  have  already  solemnly  declared  verbally  and  in 
writing,  the  three  Protecting  Powers  of  Greece  do  not  ask  her  to 
emerge  from  her  neutrality.  Of  this  fact  they  furnish  a  striking 
proof  by  placing  foremost  among  their  demands  the  complete 
demobilization  of  the  Greek  army  in  order  to  insure  to  the 
Greek  people  tranquillity  and  peace.  But  they  have  numerous 
and  legitimate  grounds  for  suspicion  against  the  Greek  Govern- 
ment, whose  attitude  toward  them  has  not  been  in  conformity 
with  repeated  engagements,  nor  even  with  the  principles  of  loyal 

"Thus,  the  Greek  Government  has  all  too  often  favored  the 
activities  of  certain  foreigners  who  have  openly  striven  to  lead 
astray  Greek  public  opinion,  to  distort  the  national  feeling  of 
Greece,  and  to  create  in  Hellenic  territory  hostile  organizations 


which  are  contrary  to  the  neutrality  of  the  country  and  tend  to 
compromise  the  security  of  the  military  and  naval  forces  of  the 

"The  entrance  of  Bulgarian  forces  into  Greece  and  the  occu- 
pation of  Fort  Rupel  and  other  strategic  points,  with  the  con- 
nivance of  the  Hellenic  Government,  constitute  for  the  allied 
troops  a  new  threat  which  imposes  on  the  three  powers  the 
obligation  of  demanding  guarantees  and  immediate  measures. 

"Furthermore,  the  Greek  Constitution  has  been  disregarded, 
the  free  exercise  of  universal  suffrage  has  been  impeded,  the 
Chamber  of  Deputies  has  been  dissolved  a  second  time  within 
a  period  of  less  than  a  year  against  the  clearly  expressed  will 
of  the  people,  and  the  electorate  has  been  summoned  to  the  polls 
during  a  period  of  mobilization,  with  the  result  that  the  present 
chamber  only  represents  an  insignificant  portion  of  the  elec- 
toral college,  and  that  the  whole  country  has  been  subjected  to 
a  system  of  oppression  and  of  political  tyranny,  and  has  been 
kept  in  leading  strings  without  regard  for  the  legitimate  repre- 
sentations of  the  powers. 

"These  powers  have  not  only  the  right,  but  also  the  impera- 
tive duty,  of  protesting  against  such  violations  of  the  liberties, 
of  which  they  are  the  guardians  in  the  eyes  of  the  Greek 

"The  hostile  attitude  of  the  Hellenic  Government  toward  the 
powers,  who  have  emancipated  Greece  from  an  alien  yoke,  and 
have  secured  her  independence,  and  the  evident  collusion  of  the 
present  cabinet  with  the  enemies  of  these  powers,  constitute 
for  them  still  stronger  reasons  for  acting  with  firmness,  in 
reliance  upon  the  rights  which  they  derive  from  treaties,  and 
which  have  been  vindicated  for  the  preservation  of  the  Greek 
people  upon  every  occasion  upon  which  it  has  been  menaced  in 

I  the  exercise  of  its  rights  or  in  the  enjoyment  of  its  liberties. 
"The  Protecting  Powers  accordingly  see  themselves  compelled 
to  exact  immediate  application  of  the  following  measures: 
f    "1.     Real  and  complete  demobilization  of  the  Greek  Army, 
hvhich  shall  revert  as  speedily  as  possible  to  a  peace  footing. 
"2.    Immediate  substitution  for  the  existing  ministry  of  a 


226  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

business  cabinet  devoid  of  any  political  prejudice  and  present- 
ing all  the  necessary  guarantees  for  the  application  of  that 
benevolent  neutrality  which  Greece  is  pledged  to  observe  toward 
the  Allied  Powers  and  for  the  honesty  of  a  fresh  appeal  to  the 

"3.  Immediate  dissolution  of  the  Chamber  of  Deputies,  fol- 
lowed by  fresh  elections  within  the  time  limits  provided  by  the 
constitution,  and  as  soon  as  general  demobilization  will  have 
restored  the  electoral  body  to  its  normal  condition. 

"4.  Dismissal,  in  agreement  with  the  Allied  Powers,  of 
ijertain  police  officials  whose  attitude,  influenced  by  foreign 
guidance,  has  facilitated  the  perpetration  of  notorious  assaults 
upon  peaceable  citizens  and  the  insults  which  have  been  leveled 
at  the  Allied  Legations  and  their  members. 

"The  Protecting  Powers,  who  continue  to  be  inspired  with 
the  utmost  friendliness  and  benevolence  toward  Greece,  but  who 
are,  at  the  same  time,  determined  to  secure,  without  discussioa 
or  delay,  the  application  of  these  indispensable  measures,  caa 
but  leave  to  the  Hellenic  Government  entire  responsibility  for 
the  events  which  might  supervene  if  their  just  demands  were 
not  immediately  accepted." 

The  treaties  referred  to  in  the  note,  on  which  the  "three 
Protecting  Powers"  base  their  right  to  intervene  in  the  affairs 
of  Greece  to  enforce  the  carrying  out  of  her  constitution,  date 
back  to  the  early  period  of  last  century,  when  the  three  nations 
in  question  assisted  the  newly  liberated  Greeks  in  establishing 
a  government  and  assumed  a  semiprotectorate. 

This  note  was  presented  to  Premier  Skouloudis,  but  he  refused 
to  accept  it  on  the  ground  that  no  Greek  Cabinet  existed,  as  it 
had  been  deposited  at  the  Foreign  Office  while  he  was  on  nis 
way  back  from  the  residence  of  the  king,  where  he  had  presented 
the  resignation  of  the  ministry. 

The  people  were  unaware  of  what  had  happened  until  evening, 
when  newspapers  and  handbills,  distributed  broadcast,  made 
known  the  text  of  the  demands.  King  Constantine  returned 
hastily  to  Athens.  All  the  troops  in  the  city  were  ordered  under 
arms.     The  Deputies  were  summoned  to  the  Chamber,  where 


Skouloudis  announced  that  he  had  resigned,  after  which  the 
Chamber  immediately  adjourned  again. 

On  the  following  day  the  king  summoned  Alexander  Zaimis, 
a  Greek  politician,  reputed  to  be  in  favor  of  the  Allies,  to  form 
a  new  Cabinet.  He  immediately  organized  a  new  ministry, 
comprising  himself  as  Premier  and  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs ; 
General  Callaris,  Minister  of  War  and  Marine;  George  Rallis, 
Minister  of  Finance;  Phocian  Negria,  of  Communications; 
Colonel  Harlambis,  of  the  Interior;  Anthony  Momperatos,  of 
Justice;  Constantine  Libourkis,  of  Instruction,  and  Colligas,  of 
National  Economy.  The  first  act  of  the  new  Cabinet  was  to 
announce  a  new  election  of  Deputies  to  the  National  Chamber, 
to  take  place  on  August  7,  1916.  The  new  Premier  also  an- 
nounced that  the  demands  of  the  Allies  would  be  carried  out 
to  the  letter.  As  a  token  of  good  faith,  the  chief  of  police  of 
Athens  was  immediately  dismissed  and  Colonel  Zimbrakakis, 
who  had  been  police  chief  during  the  Venizelos  regime,  was 
installed  in  his  place.  The  Allies,  on  their  part,  at  once  raised 
the  blockade  and  agreed  to  advance  Greece  a  loan  to  tide  over 
her  present  financial  difficulties. 

For  some  days  afterward  large  and  enthusiastic  pro- 
Venizelos  demonstrations  took  place  in  Athens  and  other  Greek 
cities,  in  which  the  labor  unions  and  the  soldiers  were  reported 
to  take  a  very  prominent  part.  Meanwhile  the  demobilization 
of  the  Greek  army  was  begun  in  good  faith. 

During  this  period  there  had  been  no  further  aggression,  or 
advance,  on  the  part  of  the  Bulgarians.  And  while  there  had 
been  a  number  of  German  officers  present  at  the  demand  for 
the  evacuation  of  Fort  Rupel  by  the  Greeks,  as  well  as  a  small 
force  of  Gennan  engineers,  all  the  reports  emanating  from 
Bulgaria  indicated,  directly  or  indirectly,  that  the  German 
forces  had  been  almost  entirely  drawn  away  from  the  Balkans, 
to  meet  the  gradually  increasing  pressure  that  both  the  Russians 
on  the  eastern  front  and  the  English  and  French  on  the  western 
front  were  bringing  to  exert  on  the  Teutonic  forces.  Being 
practically  left  to  themselves,  for  the  Turks,  too,  had  their  hands 
full  in  their  Asiatic  provinces,  and  considering  the  need  of 

228  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

forces  for  garrison  duty  in  conquered  territory,  especially  in 
Albania  and  upper  Serbia,  as  well  as  the  army  needed  to  watch 
the  movements  of  the  Rumanians,  it  was  doubtful  if  the  Bul- 
garians had  more  than  300,000  men  to  spare  for  their  lines 
opposing  those  of  the  Allies  at  Saloniki. 

The  Allies,  on  the  other  hand,  had  been  daily  waxing  stronger. 
At  least  100,000  Serbians  had  been  added  to  their  forces  about 
Saloniki  before  the  beginning  of  August.  There  were,  at  this 
time,  about  350,000  French  and  British  soldiers  in  Saloniki,  so 
that  the  total  force  was  not  very  far  short  of  half  a  million. 
General  Mahon,  the  British  commander,  had  gone  to  Egypt,  to 
superintend  the  removal  to  Saloniki  of  the  British  troops  there, 
who  had  been  provided  as  a  defending  force  when  the  danger 
of  a  German  attack  in  that  section  seemed  imminent.  These 
forces  were  estimated  at  another  200,000.  Added  to  this  the 
favorable  position  of  the  Allies  from  a  strategic  point  of  view, 
it  was  obvious,  by  the  middle  of  August,  that  if  active  hostilities 
were  to  break  out  on  the  Saloniki  front  very  shortly,  the  initia- 
tive would  most  likely  come  from  the  Allies. 




THROUGHOUT  the  early  part  of  March,  1916,  military  oper- 
ations on  the  Italian  front  were  very  restricted.  At  the  end 
of  February  the  atmospheric  conditions,  which  up  till  then  had 
remained  exceptionally  favorable,  changed  suddenly,  giving 
place  to  a  period  of  bad  weather,  with  meteorological  phenomena 
particularly  remarkable  in  that  theater  of  the  operations,  which 
among  all  those  of  the  European  war  is  the  most  Alpine  and  the 
most  difficult.  In  the  mountain  zone  snow  fell  very  heavily, 
causing  frequent  great  avalanches  and  sometimes  the  movement 
of  extensive  snow  fields.  Communications  of  every  kind  were 
seriously  interrupted.  Not  only  shelters  and  huts,  but  in  many 
cases  columns  of  men  and  supplies  on  the  march  were  swept 
away.  The  unceasing  tempest  made  it  difficult  and  in  some  cases 
quite  impossible  to  render  any  aid,  but  owing  to  an  organized 
service  for  such  eventualities,  ample  and  effective  assistance 
was  given  in  the  great  majority  of  cases.  This  led  to  the  speedy 
restoration  of  communications  and  supplies.  Nevertheless  the 
distressing  but  inevitable  loss  of  human  lives  was  comparatively 

In  the  lowland  zone  heavy  and  constant  rains  caused  land- 
slides in  the  lines  of  defense  and  shelters.  The  rise  of  the  rivers 
and  the  consequent  floods  soon  made  the  ground  impassable. 
Even  the  main  roads  were  interrupted  at  several  points.  In 
the  whole  theater  of  operations  it  was  a  regular  battle  against 

adverse  circumstances. 


230  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Austrian  troops  in  many  places  used  the  heavy  snowfall  to 
their  advantage.  By  means  of  mines,  bombs  and  artillery  fire 
they  produced  avalanches  artificially.  Thus  on  March  8,  1916, 
some  damage  was  done  in  this  manner  to  Italian  positions  in 
the  Lagaznos  zone.  On  the  same  day  Italian  forces  succeeded 
in  pushing  their  lines  forward  for  a  slight  distance  in  the  zone 
between  the  lofana  peaks  (in  the  Dolomites),  as  well  as  in  the 
valley  of  the  middle  Isonzo"  and  in  the  Zagara  sector.  Along  the 
entire  front  vigorous  artillery  fire  was  maintained. 

The  artillery  combat  gradually  increased  in  vehemence 
during  the  next  few  days,  especially  on  the  Isonzo  front,  indi- 
cating a  resumption  of  offensive  movements.  About  the  middle 
of  March,  1916,  Italian  troops  began  again  to  attack  the 
Austrian  positions.  On  March  15,  1916,  a  lively  artillery  duel 
and  a  series  of  attacks  and  counterattacks  were  repulsed  from 
the  Isonzo  front. 

Italian  infantry  carried  out  a  number  of  successive  attacks 
in  the  region  of  Monte  Rombon  in  the  Plezzo  basin  and  on  the 
height  commanding  the  position  of  Lucinico,  southeast  of  San 
Martino  del  Carso.  After  an  intensive  preparation  by  artillery 
fire  the  Austrians,  on  March  16,  1916,  launched  at  dawn  a  coun- 
terattack against  the  positions  conquered  by  the  Italians  the  day 
before,  but  were  at  first  everywhere  repulsed,  suffering  heavy 

The  Austrian  concentration  of  artillery  fire,  in  which  guns 
of  all  caliber  were  employed,  lasted  uninterruptedly  throughout 
the  day,  forcing  the  Italians  to  evacuate  the  positions  during 
the  course  of  the  night. 

The  Fella  sector  of  the  Carinthian  front  and  also  the  Col  di 
Lana  sector  in  the  Tyrol  were  shelled  by  Italian  artillery.  Ital- 
ian airmen  dropped  bombs  on  Trieste  without  doing  any  damage. 

Again  atmospheric  conditions  enforced  a  lull  in  military  oper- 
ations during  the  next  few  days  and  brought  to  a  sudden  end 
what  had  seemed  to  be  an  extensive  offensive  movement  on  the 
part  of  the  Italian  forces  on  the  Isonzo  front. 

On  March  17,  1916,  however,  violent  fighting  again  developed 
on  the  Isonzo  front  in  the  region  of  the  Tolmino  bridgehead.    It 


began  with  greatly  increased  artillery  activity  along  the  entire 
sector  between  Tolmino  and  Flitsch.  Later  that  day  the  Austro- 
Hungarians  launched  an  attack  against  the  Italian  forces  which 
netted  them  considerable  ground  on  the  northern  part  of  the 
bridgehead,  as  well  as  some  500  prisoners. 

The  battle  in  the  Tolmino  sector  continued  on  March  18  and  19, 
1916,  and  to  a  slighter  degree  on  March  20,  1916.  On  the  first 
of  these  three  days  the  Austro-Hungarian  troops  succeeded  in 
advancing  beyond  the  road  between  Celo  and  Ciginj  and  to  the 
west  of  the  St.  Maria  Mountain.  Italian  counterattacks  failed. 
South  of  the  Mrzli,  too,  the  Italians  lost  a  position  and  had  to 
withdraw  toward  Gabrije,  losing  some  300  prisoners.  Increased 
artillery  activity  was  noticeable  on  the  Carinthian  front,  par- 
ticularly in  the  Fella  sector;  in  the  Dolomites,  especially  in  the 
Col  di  Lana  sector;  in  the  Sugana  Valley  and  at  some  points  on 
the  west  Tyrol  front.  Goritz,  too,  was  again  subjected  to  heavy 
Italian  gunfire. 

On  the  following  day,  March  19,  1916,  fighting  continued  at 
the  Tolmino  bridgehead  as  a  result  of  Italian  efforts  to  conquer 
positions  firmly  in  Austro-Hungarian  hands.  The  number  of 
Italians  captured  reached  925  and  the  number  of  machine  guns 
taken  was  increased  to  seven.  Several  Italian  attacks  against 
Mrzli  and  Krn  (Monte  Nero)  broke  down.  On  the  Rombon 
the  Austro-Hungarians  captured  a  position  and  took  145  Italians 
and  two  machine  guns. 

Lively  fighting  continued  on  the  Carinthian  front.  In  the 
Tyrol  frontier  district  Italian  artillery  again  held  the  Col  di 
Lana  section  and  some  points  south  of  the  front  under  heavy 
artillery  fire. 

On  the  Goritz  bridgehead  Austro-Hungarians  in  the  morning 
set  fire  to  an  Italian  position  before  the  southern  part  of  Podgora 
Height.  In  the  afternoon  Austro-Hungarian  artillery  shelled 
heavily  the  front  before  the  bridgehead.  During  the  night  they 
ejected  Italian  forces  from  a  trench  before  Bevma. 

Again  on  March  20,  1916,  Italian  counterattacks  against  the 
positions  captured  by  the  Austro-Hungarians  during  the  pre- 
ceding days  failed.  Again  fighting  slowed  down  for  a  few  days. 

232  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

As  usual,  resumption  of  military  operations  was  indicated  by 
increased  artillery  fire. 

In  the  Rovereto  zone  on  March  23,  1916,  an  artillery  duel  was 
followed  during  the  night  by  Austro-Hungarian  attacks  against 
Italian  positions  at  Moriviccio,  near  Rio  Comeraso,  and  in  the 
Adige  and  Terragnole  Valleys.  These  were  repulsed.  Through- 
out the  theater  of  operations  bad  weather  limited,  however,  ar- 
tillery action  on  the  Isonzo,  which  was  active  only  near  Tolmino 
and  the  heights  northwest  of  Goritz. 

On  March  25,  1916,  Italian  artillery  again  bombarded  the 
Doberdo  Plateau  (south  of  Goritz),  the  Fella  Valley  and  various 
points  on  the  Tyrolese  front.  East  of  Ploecken  Pass  (on  the 
Camia  front)  Italian  positions  were  penetrated  and  Italian  at- 
tacks repulsed  near  Marter  (Sugana  Valley). 

Severe  fighting  took  place  on  March  26, 1916,  at  several  points. 
At  the  Goritz  bridgehead  the  Austro-Hungarians  captured  an 
Italian  position  fronting  on  the  northern  portion  of  Podgora 
Heights,  taking  525  prisoners.  Throughout  the  entire  day  and 
the  following  night  the  Italian  troops  in  vain  attempted  to  regain 
the  positions  which  they  had  lost  the  day  before  east  of  Ploeckcoi 

In  the  Doberdo  sector  on  March  27,  1916,  the  artillery  was 
again  active  on  both  sides.  Italian  attacks  on  the  north  slope 
of  Monte  San  Michele  and  near  the  village  of  San  Martino  were 
repulsed.  East  of  Selz  a  severe  engagement  developed. 

In  the  Ploecken  sector  all  Italian  attacks  were  beaten  back 
under  heavy  losses.  Before  the  portion  of  the  Carinthian  front 
held  by  the  Eighth  Chasseurs  Battalion  more  than  500  dead 
Italians  were  observed.  Austro-Hungarian  airmen  dropped 
bombs  on  railroads  in  the  province  of  Venice. 

Especially  severe  fighting  occurred  once  more  in  the  region 
of  the  Gonby  bridgehead  during  March  27,  28  and  29,  1916.  On 
the  last  of  these  days  the  Italians  lost  some  350  prisoners.  With- 
out cessation  the  guns  thundered  on  both  sides  on  these  three 
days  on  the  Doberdo  Plateau,  along  the  Fella  and  Ploecken  sec- 
tors, in  the  Dolomites  and  to  the  east  of  Selz.  Scattered  Italian 
attacks    at    various    points   failed.      Then,    with   the   end    of 


March,  the  weather  again  necessitated  a  stoppage  of  military 

An  interesting  description  of  the  territory  in  which  most  of 
this  fighting  occurred  was  rendered  by  a  special  correspondent 
of  the  London  "Times"  who,  in  part,  says : 

"There  is  no  prospect  on  earth  quite  like  the  immense  irreg- 
ular crescent  of  serrated  peak  and  towering  mountain  wall  that 
is  thrown  around  Italy  on  the  north,  as  it  unrolls  itself  from  the 
plains  of  Lombardy  and  Venetia.  How  often  one  has  gazed  at 
it  in  sheer  delight  over  its  bewildering  wealth  of  contrasting 
color  and  fantastic  form,  its  effect  of  light  and  shade  and 
measureless  space !  But  now,  for  these  many  months  past,  keen 
eyes  have  been  bent  upon  it;  eyes,  not  of  the  artist  or  the  poet, 
but  those  of  the  soldier. 

"It  was  such  a  pair  of  military  eyes  that  I  had  beside  me  a 
day  or  two  ago,  as  I  stood  upon  the  topmost  roofs  of  a  high 
tower,  in  a  certain  little  town  in  northern  Italy,  where  much 
history  has  been  made  of  late;  and,  since  the  owner  of  the  eyes 
was  likewise  the  possessor  of  a  very  well-ordered  mind  and  a 
gift  of  lucid  exposition,  I  found  myself  able  to  grasp  the  main 
elements  of  the  extraordinarily  complex  strategic  problem  with 
which  the  chiefs  of  the  Italian  army  have  had  to  grapple.  As  I 
looked  and  listened  I  felt  that  the  chapter  which  Italy  is  con- 
tributing to  the  record  of  the  greatest  war  of  all  time  is  one  of 
which  she  will  have  every  reason  to  be  proud  when  she  has  at 
length  brought  it  to  its  victorious  conclusion. 

''There  are  few  such  viewpoints  as  this.  In  the  luminous  still- 
ness of  a  perfect  morning  of  the  Italian  summer  I  could  look 
north,  and  east,  and  west,  upon  more  than  a  third  of  the  battle 
line,  that  goes  snaking  among  the  mountains  from  near  the 
Swiss  frontier  to  the  Adriatic.  And  what  a  length  of  line  it  is! 
In  England  some  people  seem  to  think  this  is  a  little  war  that 
Italy  has  on  hand,  little  in  comparison  with  the  campaigns  in 
France  and  Russia.  But  it  is  not  small,  weighed  even  in  that 
exacting  balance.  The  front  measures  out  at  over  450  miles, 
which  is  not  very  far  short  of  the  length  of  ribbon  of  trench  and 
earthwork  that  is  drawn  across  western  Europe. 

234  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

"Here,  as  there,  every  yard  is  held  and  guarded.  It  is  true 
that  there  is  not  a  continuous  row  of  sentries ;  for  on  the  Austro- 
Italian  front  there  are  places  where  the  natural  barriers  are 
impassable  even  for  the  Alpine  troops,  who  will  climb  to  the 
aerie  of  the  eagles.  But  wherever  nature  has  not  barred  the  way 
against  both  sides  alike  the  trenches  and  fortified  galleries  run, 
stretching  across  the  saddle  between  two  inaccessible  peaks, 
ringing  around  the  shoulder  of  a  mountain,  dipping  it  into  the  val- 
ley, and  then  rising  again  to  the  very  summit  or  passing  over  it. 

"There  are  guns  everywhere — machine  guns,  mountain  guns, 
field  guns,  huge  guns  of  position,  6-inch,  10-inch,  12-inch — ^which 
have  been  dragged  or  carried  with  all  their  mountings,  their 
equipment,  their  tools  and  appurtenances,  up  to  their  stations, 
it  may  be,  3,000,  4,000,  6,000  feet  above  the  level.  And  at  those 
heights  are  the  larders  of  shell  which  must  always  be  kept  full 
so  that  the  carnivorous  mouths  of  the  man-eaters  may  not  go 
hungry  even  for  the  single  hour  of  the  single  day  which,  at  any 
point,  an  attack  may  develop. 

"Such  is  the  long  Italian  battle  line.  When  you  know  what 
it  is  you  are  not  surprised  that  here  and  there,  and  now  and 
again,  it  should  bend  and  give  a  little  before  an  enemy  better 
supplied  with  heavy  artillery,  and  much  favored  by  the  topo- 
graphical conditions ;  for  he  has  the  higher  mountain  passes  be- 
hind him  instead  of  in  front,  and  is  coming  down  the  great  Al- 
pine stairway  instead  of  going  up. 

"That  of  course  is  the  salient  feature  of  the  campaign.  The 
Italians  are  going  up,  the  Austrians  coming,  or  trying  to  come, 
down.  On  the  loftier  uplands,  range  beyond  range,  in  enemy 
territory,  the  Austrians  before  the  war  had  their  forts  and  forti- 
fied posts  and  their  strategic  roads ;  and  almost  everywhere  along 
the  front  they  have  observing  stations  which  overlook,  at  greater 
or  less  distance,  the  Italian  lines.  Thus  the  Italians  have  had  to 
make  their  advance,  and  build  their  trenches,  and  place  their 
guns,  in  the  face  of  an  enemy  who  lies  generally  much  above 
them,  sometimes  so  much  above  them  that  he  can  watch  them 
from  his  nests  of  earth  and  rock  as  though  he  were  soaring  in 
an  aeroplane." 



THE   SPRING   OP   1916   ON   THE   AUSTRO- 

DURING  the  early  part  of  the  spring  of  1916,  a  large  number 
of  engagements  took  place  at  many  scattered  points  along 
the  entire  Austro-Italian  front.  Neither  side  apparently  had 
determined  as  yet  upon  any  definite  plan  of  operations,  or,  if 
they  had,  they  took  special  pains  to  avoid  a  premature  disclosure. 
To  a  certain  extent  the  fighting  which  occurred  was  little  more 
than  of  a  reconnoitering  nature.  Each  side  attempted  with  all 
the  facilities  at  its  command  to  improve  its  positions,  even  if 
only  in  a  small  way,  and  to  find  out  weak  spots  in  the  lines  of 
its  adversary.  It  was  only  natural  that  during  the  process  of 
this  type  of  warfare,  fortune  should  smile  one  day  on  one  side 
and  turn  its  back  promptly  the  next  day. 

During  the  first  week  of  April,  1916,  there  was  little  to  report 
anywhere  along  the  front.  On  the  6th,  however,  considerable 
artillery  activity  developed  along  the  Isonzo  front,  where  the 
Italians  shelled  once  m.ore  the  city  of  Goritz.  This  activity  grad- 
ually increased  in  vehemence.  At  the  end  of  about  two  weeks 
it  decreased  slightly  for  a  few  days,  only  to  be  taken  up  again 
with  renewed  vigor  and  to  be  maintained  with  hardly  a  break 
during  the  balance  of  April,  1916. 

Coincident  with  this  artillery  duel  there  developed  a  series  of 
violent  engagements  on  the  Carso  plateau  to  the  east  of  the  lower 
Isonzo.  The  first  of  these  occurred  on  April  12,  1916,  when 
Italian  advance  detachments  approached  Austrian  trenches  be- 
tween Monte  San  Michelo  and  San  Martino,  wrecking  them  with 
hand  grenades  and  bombs.  Another  engagement  of  somewhat 
greater  importance  occurred  on  April  22,  1916,  east  of  Selz. 
Italian  infantry,  supported  by  artillery,  despite  obstinate  resist- 
ance occupied  strong  trenches  350  meters  long.  The  Austrians 
receiving  reenforcements,  violently  counterattacked  twice  during 
the  night,  the  second  time  succeeding  in  retaking  part  of  the  lost 

236  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

trenches.  After  a  deadly  hand-to-hand  struggle  in  which  the 
Austrians  suffered  severely,  the  Italians  drove  them  out,  captur- 
ing 133,  including  six  officers,  two  machine  guns,  200  rifles,  sev- 
eral flame  throwers,  and  numerous  cases  of  ammunition  and 

The  following  day,  April  23,  1916,  Austrian  artillery  of  all 
calibers  violently  shelled  the  trenches  occupied  east  of  Selz,  oblig- 
ing the  Italians  to  evacuate  a  small  section  north  of  the  Selz 
Valley,  which  was  especially  exposed  to  the  Austrian  fire.  An- 
other strong  attack,  supported  by  a  very  destructive  gunfire 
was  launched  by  the  Austrians  against  these  trenches  on  April 
25,  1916,  and  enabled  them  to  reoccupy  some  of  the  ground  pre- 
viously lost. 

Two  days  later  the  Italians  attempted  to  regain  these  positions. 
At  first  they  succeeded  in  entering  the  Austrian  trenches  on  a 
larger  front  than  they  had  held  originally,  but  when  they  mani- 
fested an  intention  to  continue  the  attack,  the  Austro-Hungari- 
ans,  by  counterattacks  drove  them  into  their  former  positions 
and  even  ejected  them  from  these  in  bitter  hand-to-hand  fighting, 
thereby  regaining  all  their  former  positions. 

During  the  balance  of  April,  and  up  to  May  15,  1916,  military 
operations  on  the  entire  Isonzo  front  were  restricted  to  artillery 
bombardments,  which,  however,  at  various  times,  became  ex- 
tremely violent,  especially  so  with  respect  to  Goritz  and  the  sur- 
rounding positions. 

In  the  next  sector,  the  Doberdo  Plateau,  much  the  same  condi- 
tion was  prevalent.  From  the  1st  of  April,  until  the  middle  of 
May,  1916,  there  was  always  more  or  less  artillery  activity. 
Occasionally  infantry  engagements  of  varying  importance  and 
extent  would  occur.  On  April  7,  1916,  the  Italians  were  driven 
back  from  some  advanced  saps.  South  of  Mrzlivrh,  Austro- 
Hungarian  troops  conquered  Italian  positions,  taking  forty- 
three  prisoners  and  one  machine  gun. 

Again  on  the  9th,  hand-to-hand  fighting,  preceded  by  bomb 
throwing,  was  reported  on  the  Mrzlivrh  front.  Another  attack, 
launched  early  in  the  morning  of  April  13,  1916,  by  the  Aus- 
trians, lasted  throughout  the  day,  with  varying  fortune,  but 


finally  resulted  in  a  success  for  the  Italians.  On  April  14,  1916, 
the  Austro-Hungarians  captured  an  Italian  position  at  Mrzlivrh 
and  repulsed  several  counterattacks.  The  Italians  suffered  heavy- 
losses.  Artillery  vigorously  shelled  the  Italian  positions  at 
Flitsch  and  Hontebra. 

Other  violent  engagements  took  place  on  the  Doberdo  Plateau 
on  April  27,  May  9,  10, 12,  and  13,  without,  however,  having  any 
influence  on  the  general  situation. 

In  all  the  other  sectors  very  much  the  same  conditions  pre- 
vailed. Artillery  fire  was  maintained  on  both  sides  almost  con- 
stantly. Infantry  attacks  were  launched  wherever  and  when- 
ever the  slightest  opportunity  offered  itself.  Scarcely  any  of 
these,  however,  resulted  in  any  noticeable  advantage  to  either 
side,  especially  in  view  of  the  fact  that  whenever  one  side  would 
register  a  slight  gain,  the  other  side  immediately  would  respond 
by  counterattack  and  frequently  nullify  all  previous  successes. 
Comparatively  unimportant  and  restricted,  though,  as  most  of 
this  fighting  was,  it  was  so  only  because  it  exerted  practically  no 
influence  on  the  general  situation.  On  the  other  hand,  it  was 
carried  on  with  the  greatest  display  of  valor  and  persistence  that 
can  be  imagined  and,  because  of  the  very  nature  of  the  ground 
on  which  it  occurred,  it  forms  one  of  the  most  spectacular  periods 
of  the  war  on  the  Austro-Italian  front. 

Of  these  many  local  operations  there  were  only  a  few  which 
developed  to  such  an  extent  that  they  need  to  be  mentioned  spe- 

One  of  these  was  a  series  of  engagements  in  the  Ledro  Valley, 
southwest  of  Riva  and  west  of  Lake  Garda.  There  the  Italians 
on  April  11,  1916,  by  systematic  oflTensive  actions,  pushed  their 
occupation  of  the  heights  north  of  Rio  Tonale,  between  Concei 
Valley  and  Lake  Garda.  Eflficaciously  supported  by  their  artil- 
lery, their  infantry  carried  with  the  bayonet  a  strong  line  of  in- 
trenchments  and  redoubts  along  the  southern  slopes  of  Monte 
Pari  Cimadoro  and  the  crags  of  Monte  Sperone.  On  the  follow- 
ing day,  however,  April  12,  1916,  the  Austro-Hungarians,  by 
violent  surprise  attacks,  succeeded  in  rushing  a  part  of  the 
trenches  taken  by  the  Italians  at  Monte  Sperone.    In  the  even- 

238  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

ingy  after  an  intense  preparation  by  artillery,  Italian  infantry 
counterattacked,  reoccupying  the  lost  positions,  after  a  deadly 
hand-to-hand  struggle  and  extending  their  occupation  to  the 
slopes  of  Monte  Sperone.  This  was  followed  by  a  still  further 
extension  on  April  16,  1916. 

Much  of  the  fighting  involved  positions  on  mountain  peaks 
of  great  height,  creating  difficulties  for  both  the  attacker  and 
the  defender,  which  at  first  glance  appeared  to  be  almost  insur- 
mountable. Of  this  type  of  warfare  in  the  high  mountains,  the 
special  correspondent  of  the  London  "Times"  gives  the  following 
vivid  description : 

"The  Italian  dispositions  are  very  complete,  and  it  is  at  this 
point  necessary  to  say  a  few  words  upon  Alpini  warfare,  which 
the  Italians  have  brought  to  such  a  pitch  of  perfection.  They 
are  not  the  only  mountaineers  in  the  world,  nor  the  only  people 
to  possess  warriors  famous  on  the  hillside,  but  they  were  the 
first  people  in  Europe,  except  the  Swiss,  to  organize  mountain 
warfare  scientifically,  and  in  their  Alpine  groups  they  possess 
a  force  unrivaled  for  combat  in  the  higher  mountains.  The 
Alpini  are  individualists  who  think  and  act  for  themselves  and 
so  can  fight  for  themselves.    They  are  the  cream  of  the  army. 

"Locally  recruited,  they  know  every  track  and  cranny  of  the 
^ills,  which  have  no  terrors  for  them  at  any  season,  and  their 
self-contained  groups,  which  are  practically  the  equivalent  of  di- 
visions, contain  very  tough  fighters  and  have  achieved  remark- 
able results  during  the  war.  Their  equipment,  clothing,  artillery, 
and  transport  are  all  well  adapted  to  mountain  warfare,  and  as 
the  whole  frontier  has  been  accurately  surveyed,  and  well  studied 
from  every  point  of  view,  the  Italians  are  at  a  great  advantage 
in  the  hills. 

"There  is  nothing  new  about  these  troops,  whose  turnout  and 
tactics  have  been  a  subject  of  admiration  for  many  years,  but 
in  this  war  much  has  changed,  in  the  Alps  as  elsewhere,  and  the 
use  of  the  heaviest  artillery  in  the  mountains  is  one  of  the  most 
striking  of  these  changes.  One  finds  oneself  under  the  fire  of 
twelve-inch  howitzers  from  the  other  side  of  mountains  10,000 
feet  high,  and  it  is  no  extraordinary  experience  to  find  Italian 





^  heavy  howitzers  sheltering  behind  precipices  rising  sheer  up 
several  thousand  feet,  and  fighting  with  Austrian  guns  ten  miles 
distant,  and  beyond  one,  if  not  two,  high  ranges  of  hills.  One 
imagines  that  the  Austrians  must  have  many  twelve-inch  how- 
itzers to  spare,  for  there  are,  to  give  an  example,  a  couple  near 
Mauthen,  beyond  the  crest  of  the  Carnic  Alps,  and  other  heavy 
artillery  in  the  same  district  hidden  in  caverns.  In  these  cav- 
erns, which  are  extremely  hard  to  locate,  they  are  secure  against 
shrapnel  and  cannot  be  seen  by  airmen.  I  fancy  the  Austrians 
use  galleries  with  several  gun  positions,  which  are  used  in  turn. 

"This  style  of  fighting  compels  the  Italians  to  follow  suit,  or 
at  least  it  is  supposed  to  do  so,  and  then,  as  no  road  means  no 
heavy  guns,  there  comes  in  the  Italian  engineer,  the  roadmaker, 
and  the  mason,  and  in  the  art  of  roadmaking  the  Italian  is 

"They  are  very  wonderful,  these  mountain  roads.  They  play 
with  the  Alps  and  make  impossibilities  possible.  Thanks  to 
them,  and  to  the  filovia,  or  air  railway  on  chains,  it  is  possible 
to  proceed  from  point  to  point  with  great  rapidity,  and  to  keep 
garrisons  and  posts  well  supplied.  The  telephones  run  every- 
where, and  observing  stations  on  the  highest  peaks  enable  Italian 
howitzers  to  make  sure  of  their  aim.  I  am  not  quite  sure 
whether  the  Italians  do  not  trust  too  much  to  their  telephones 
and  will  not  regret  the  absence  of  good  flag  signalers.  When 
large  forces  are  operating,  and  many  shells  bursting,  the  tele- 
phone is  often  a  broken  reed.  The  motor  lorries,  with  about 
a  one  and  one-half  ton  of  useful  load,  get  about  wherever  there 
is  a  road,  and  the  handy  little  steam  tractors,  which  make  light 
of  dragging  the  heaviest  guns  up  the  steepest  gradients,  are 
valuable  adjuncts  to  the  defense.  At  the  turns  of  bad  zigzags, 
the  Italians  have  a  remarkable  drill  for  men  on  the  dragropes, 
and  in  fact  all  diflficulties  have  been  overcome. 

"I  recall  some  Italian  batteries  mounted  at  an  elevation  of 
about  9,000  feet,  of  which  each  gun  weighed  eleven  tons,  the 
carriage  five  tons,  and  the  platform,  which  was  divided  into 
sections,  thirty  tons.  These  guns,  the  battery  officers  declared, 
were  brought  up  from  the  plains  by  a  new  mountain  road  in 

P— War  St  5 

240  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

seven  hours,  and  placed  in  position  on  these  platforms  five  hours 
later.  It  is  all  a  question  of  roads,  but  the  filovia  can  carry  400 
kilos,  and  any  gun  under  that  weight  can  get  up  to  a  peak  by 
way  of  the  air. 

"It  is  all  very  marvelous  and  very  perfect,  and  the  Italians  are 
also  adepts  at  trench  building,  and  make  them  most  artistically. 
The  only  objection  I  can  see  to  the  mountain  road  is  that,  when 
the  enemy  gets  a  hold  of  the  territory  which  they  serve,  he  has 
the  benefit  of  them.  This  is  true  of  Trentino  operations  now, 
and  the  enemy  has  many  more  roads  at  his  disposal  than  the  old 
maps  show.  Sometimes  I  wonder  whether  the  Italians  do  not 
immerse  themselves  a  little  too  much  in  these  means  of  war 
and  lose  sight  a  little  of  the  ends,  but  over  nine-tenths  of  Italy's 
frontier  the  war  is  Alpine,  and  it  must  be  allowed  that  Italian 
soldiers  have  brought  the  art  of  mountain  fighting  to  a  degree 
of  perfection  which  it  has  never  attained  before. 

"The  Italian  Alpine  group  varies  in  strength  and  composition. 
It  usually  has  the  local  Alpine  battalions  reenforced  by  the 
mountaineers  of  Piedmont,  and  completed,  when  necessary,  by 
line  infantry,  who  usually  act  in  the  lower  valleys,  leaving  the 
high  peaks  to  the  mountaineers.  Artillery  is  added  according 
to  needs — mountain,  field,  and  heavy — while  there  are  engineers 
in  plenty,  and  the  mule  transport  is  very  good. 

"The  Alpini  wear  a  good  hobnailed  boot  for  ordinary  service, 
but  for  work  on  the  ice  the  heel  of  the  boot  is  taken  off,  and  an 
iron  clamp  with  ice  nails  substituted.  For  mountaineering  feats 
they  often  use  scarpe  da  gatto,  or  cat  shoes,  made  of  string  soles 
with  felt  uppers,  which  are  more  lasting  than  the  Pyrenean 
straw  sandals.  The  Gavetta,  or  mess  tin  of  the  Alpini,  is  very 
practical.  It  is  of  the  same  shape  as  ours,  but  a  little  deeper, 
and  has  a  reserve  of  spirit  at  the  base  and  a  spirit  lamp,  enabling 
the  Alpini  to  make  coffee  or  heat  their  wine.  They  use  racquets 
or  skis  on  the  snow,  and  carry  either  the  alpenstock  or  the  ice  ax, 

"I  did  not  realize  before  coming  here  that  trench  warfare,  and 
the  close  proximity  of  hostile  trenches,  had  become  as  usual  in 
the  mountains  as  in  the  plains.  The  defenses  are,  of  course,  not 
continuous  over  such  a  long,  and  in  parts,  impassable  line,  but 



242  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

tend  to  concentrate  at  the  passes  and  other  points  of  tactical 
importance.  But  here  the  adversaries  draw  together,  and  one 
often  finds  lines  only  separated  by  twenty  yards. 

"The  Alpini  are  usually  as  much  deprived  of  the  power  of 
maneuvering  as  their  comrades  in  the  plains,  and  all  that  is  left 
for  them  is  to  act  by  surprise.  They  have  a  system  of  attacking 
by  infiltration  forward,  not  so  very  dissimilar  from  Boer  meth- 
ods, and  they  have  a  number  of  devices  and  surprises  which 
repay  study. 

"Their  enemy  is  worthy  of  them,  for  the  chamois  hunters,  the 
foresters,  the  cragsmen  of  the  Austrian  Alps  are  no  mean  antag- 
onists, as  all  of  us  know  who  have  shot  and  climbed  with  them. 
Very  fine  men,  they  shoot  quick  and  straight,  and  when  an 
oflScer  of  Alpini  tells  us  not  to  dally  to  admire  the  scenery,  be- 
cause we  are  within  view  of  an  Austrian  post  within  easy  range, 
we  recall  old  days  and  make  no  diflficulty  about  complying. 

"The  Germans  trained  their  Alpine  corps  here  before  it  went 
to  Serbia,  and  the  Italians  made  many  prisoners  from  it — Ba- 
varians, Westphalians,  and  East  Prussians.  So  at  least  I  am 
told  by  officers  of  Alpini  who  fought  with  it,  and  it  is  certainly 
proved  beyond  all  doubt  that  German  artillery  has  been,  and 
is  now,  cooperating  with  the  Austrians  on  the  Italian  front. 

"The  Alpini  hold  their  positions  winter  and  summer  on  the 
highest  peaks  and  have  made  a  great  name  for  themselves.  They 
have  lost  heavily,  and  the  avalanches  have  also  taken  a  serious 
toll  of  them.  One  parts  with  them  with  regret,  for  they  are 
indeed  very  fine  fellows,  and  the  war  they  wage  is  very  hard. 

"One  point  more.  Pasubio  is  not  one  of  the  highest  peaks  in 
Italian  hands,  but  snow  fell  there  in  the  end  of  May  and  will 
fall  again  at  the  end  of  August.  The  time  allowed  for  big  things 
in  the  Alps  by  big  armies  is  strictly  limited.  Also  we  must  re- 
member that  there  are  winter  defenses  to  be  made  in  the  snow, 
and  summer  defenses  to  be  made  in  the  earth  and  rock.  The 
Austrians  were  clever  in  attacking  the  other  day,  just  as  the 
enow  defenses  had  crumbled  and  the  summer  defenses  had  not 
been  completed.  The  barbed-wire  chevaux-de-frise  are  often 
covered  by  snow  in  a  night  and  have  to  be  renewed.    When  the 


snow  thaws,  all  this  jumble  of  obstacles  reappears  tangled  to- 

"Other  ghastly  sights  also  reappear,  like  the  600  Austrian 
corpses  on  Monte  Nero — almost  awe-inspiring  of  heights. 
They  had  fallen  in  the  snow  which  had  covered  them.  In  the 
summer  they  reappeared  one  morning  in  strange  attitudes, 
frozen  hard  and  lifelike,  and  gave  the  Italian  garrison  their  first 

On  April  11,  1916,  in  the  Monte  Adamello  zone,  while  a  heavy 
storm  was  raging,  Italian  detachments  attacked  the  Austrian 
positions  on  the  rocky  crags  of  the  Lobbia  Alta  and  the  Doss 
di  Genova,  jutting  out  from  the  glaciers  at  an  altitude  of  3,300 
meters,  (10,918  feet).  On  the  evening  of  April  12,  1916,  they 
completely  carried  the  positions,  fortifying  themselves  in  them 
and  taking  thirty-one  prisoners,  including  one  officer  and  one 
machine  gun. 

The  next  day,  April  13,  1916,  saw  some  severe  fighting  in  the 
Sugana  Valley  in  the  Dolomites,  where  Italian  troops  carried 
with  the  bayonet,  a  position  at  Santosvaldo,  west  of  the  Sargan- 
agna  torrent,  taking  seventy-four  prisoners,  including  five 

Three  days  later,  April  17,  1916,  Italian  Alpine  troops  in  the 
Monte  Adamello  zone,  occupied  and  strengthened  the  Monte  Val 
di  Fumo  Pass,  at  an  altitude  of  3,402  meters  (11,161  feet) . 

During  the  night  of  April  18, 1916,  one  of  the  most  spectacular 
and  important  exploits  of  this  period  was  executed.  In  the  upper 
Cordevole  zone  Italian  troops,  after  successful  mining  opera- 
tions, attacked  Austrian  positions  on  the  Col  di  Lana  and  occu- 
pied the  western  ridge  of  Monte  Ancora.  The  Austrian  detach- 
ment occupying  the  trenches  was  mostly  killed.  The  Italians 
took  as  prisoners  164  Kaiserjagers,  including  nine  officers. 

This  successful  operation  of  the  Italians  was  of  exceptional 
importance.  The  Col  di  Lana  is  a  mountain  4,815  feet  high, 
which  forms  a  natural  barrier  in  the  valley  of  Livinallengo  and 
protects  the  road  of  the  Dolomites  from  Falzarego  to  the  Pordoi 
Pass  and  dominates  the  road  to  Caprile.  The  Italians  had  al- 
ready occupied  Col  di  Lana,  but  could  not  drive  the  Austrians 

244  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

from  its  western  peak,  where  an  entire  battalion  of  Alpine 
troops,  Kaiser jagers,  was  strongly  intrenched  and  protected 
by  semipermanent  fortifications  with  field  and  machine  guns. 

It  was  impossible  for  the  Italians  to  attack  the  enemy's  posi- 
tions, within  range  of  the  Austrian  artillery  on  Mount  Siet 
which  is  nearly  on  the  same  level,  so  the  entire  western  margin  of 
Col  di  Lana  was  carefully  and  patiently  mined,  an  undertaking 
which  probably  took  months  of  hard  work,  and  several  tons  of 
high  explosives  were  distributed  in  such  a  way  as  to  destroy  the 
whole  side  of  the  mountain  above  which  the  enemy  was  in- 

The  explosion  that  followed  was  terrific.  The  earth  shook  as 
if  rocked  by  an  earthquake,  and  the  havoc  wrought  was  so  great 
that  out  of  the  1,000  Austrians  who  held  the  position,  only  164 

Of  course,  the  Austrians  launched  many  counterattacks 
against  this  new  strong  position  of  the  Italians.  But  the  latter 
had  fortified  it  so  well  that  all  attempts  of  their  opponents  to  dis- 
lodge them  failed. 

Considerable  further  fighting  also  occurred  during  the  second 
half  of  April,  1916,  and  the  first  half  of  May,  1916,  in  the  Ada- 
mello  zone,  adjoining  the  Camonica  Valley,  especially  in  the  re- 
gion of  the  Tonale  Pass.  The  same  was  true  of  the  Tofana  sector 
on  the  upper  Boite.  But  though  spectacular,  the  results  were  of 
comparatively  small  importance. 


THE     AUSTRIAN      MAY     DRIVE      IN     THE 

ABOUT  May  15,  1916,  the  Italians  were  at  the  gates  of  Ro- 
^^^vereto,  less  than  twelve  miles  south  of  Trent  and  seriously 
threatening  that  city.  East  of  Rovereto  the  Italian  lines  ran 
along  the  crest  of  Doss  di  Somme  to  the  Monte  Maggio  beyond 
Val  Terragnolo  and  then  northward  to  Soglio  d*Aspio.  The  Aus- 

AUSTRIAN   DRIVE    IN   THE   TRENTINO         245 

trian  forts  of  Folgaria  and  Lavarone  compelled  the  Italians  to 
follow  the  frontier  as  far  as  Val  Sugana,  where  they  occupied 
good  strategical  positions  on  Austrian  territory  and  held  Ron- 
segno,  on  the  railroad  between  Borgo  and  Trent.  Further  north 
the  Italians  held  dominating  positions  in  front  of  the  Austrian 
forts  at  Fabonti  and  Monte  Cola. 

During  the  preceding  months  the  Austrian  forces  along  the 
Italian  front  had  gradually  been  increased,  until  they  now  num- 
bered about  thirty-eight  divisions.  Of  these,  it  was  estimated 
that  sixteen  divisions,  or  over  300,000  men  had  been  massed  by 
May  15,  1916,  between  the  Adige  and  Brenta  Rivers.  Artillery, 
too,  in  comparatively  great  quantity  and  of  as  heavy  caliber  as 
the  country  permitted,  had  been  assembled. 

Suddenly  on  May  15,  1916,  the  Austrians  along  the  Trentino 
front  followed  up  an  intense  bombardment  which  had  lasted 
throughout  May  14,  1916,  with  an  attack  by  large  masses  of  in- 
fantry against  the  Italian  positions  between  the  Adige  and  the 
upper  Astico.  Although  the  Italians  valiantly  resisted  the  first 
onrush  they  had  finally  to  give  way,  losing  some  2,500  men  and 
sixty-five  officers.  Austrian  troops  have  occupied  Italian  posi- 
tions on  Armentara  Ridge,  south  of  the  Sugana  Valley,  on  the 
Folgarone  Plateau,  north  of  Cagnolo  Valley  and  south  of  Ro- 
vereto.  On  the  Oberdo  Plateau  they  entered  trenches  east  of 
Monfalcone,  capturing  five  officers  and  150  soldiers  belonging  to 
five  different  Italian  cavalry  regiments. 

The  following  vivid  picture  of  the  vehemence  of  the  Austrian 
attack  is  given  in  the  ^*Comere  della  Sera" : 

"The  Austrians  have  opened  a  breach  in  the  wall  of  defense 
which  we  have  won  by  heavy  sacrifices  beyond  our  frontier.  They 
have  beaten  with  a  hurricane  of  fire  upon  our  Alpine  line  at 
its  most  delicate  point,  striving  with  desperate  fury  to  penetrate 
into  Italian  territory.  This  is  the  hardest  moment  of  our  war ; 
it  is  also  one  of  the  most  bitter  and  violent  assaults  of  the  whole 
European  war. 

'The  battle  rages  furiously.  The  Austrian  attack  is  being 
made  with  colossal  forces  in  the  narrow  zone  between  the  Adige 
and  the  Val  Sugana.  The  enemy  had  assembled  fourteen  divisions 

246  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  his  best  troops.    An  Austrian  officer  who  was  taken  prisoner 
said  : 

"  *You  are  not  far  from  the  truth  in  reckoning  that  there 
are  three  hundred  thousand  men  against  you.  These  comprise 
the  armies  of  Dankl,  Koevess,  and  the  Boroevic,  and  these  ar- 
mies are  served  by  unHmited  artillery.  More  than  two  thou- 
sand pieces  are  raining  on  a  twenty-five-mile  front  projectiles 
of  all  calibers.* " 

"On  Sunday  morning,  May  14, 1916,  three  shadows  approached 
the  Italian  trenches.  As  they  advanced  they  were  recognized 
as  Austrian  Slav  deserters.    They  said : 

"  *The  attack  has  been  ordered  for  to-morrow.  The  bombard- 
ment will  last  from  dawn  to  6  p.  m.,  when  the  infantry  will 

"The  information  was  exact.  A  bombardment  of  incredible 
violence  began.  Aeroplanes  regulated  the  fire  of  a  15-inch  naval 
gun,  which  sent  five  projectiles  on  the  town  of  Asiago.  After 
the  bombardment  had  ceased  the  first  infantry  attack  came. 
The  troops  attacked  en  masse,  and  at  the  same  time  attacks  were 
made  from  the  Adige  to  the  Val  Sugana.  Four  onslaughts  were 
made  on  Zugna  Torta.  Our  machine  guns  cut  down  the  blue 
masses  of  men ;  the  wire  entanglements  were  heaped  with  dead. 
The  bombardment  had  destroyed  all  the  first-line  trenches.  The 
infantry  then  hurled  itself  against  the  advance  posts  of  the 
Val  Terragnolo.  The  Alpini,  deafened  by  twelve  hours  of  bom- 
bardment, defended  every  foot  of  the  ground,  fighting  always  in 
snow.  Three  terrible  bayonet  counterattacks  lacerated  the  Aus- 
trian lines,  but  the  assailants  were  innumerable,  and  no  help 
could  come,  as  the  entire  front  was  in  action.  The  Alpini  who 
remained,  so  few  in  number,  threw  themselves  on  the  enemy 
again,  permitting  the  retirement  of  the  main  body  to  the  line 
running  from  Malga  Milegna  to  Soglio  d'Aspio.  Even  here 
there  was  one  avalanche  of  fire.  The  enemy  artillery  had  been 
pouring  explosives  on  these  positions  for  ten  hours.  The  enemy 
infantry  here  attacking  were  annihilated  and  the  enemy  dead 
filled  the  valleys,  but  fresh  troops  swarmed  up  from  all  parts. 

"Night  fell  on  the  first  day's  slaughter." 

AUSTRIAN    DRIVE    IN    THE    TRENTINO         247 

The  following  day,  May  16,  1916,  the  Austrians  attacked  again 
the  Italian  positions  on  the  northern  slopes  of  the  Zugna  Torta 
in  the  Lagarina  Valley  in  five  assaults.  In  the  zone  between  the 
Val  Terragnolo  and  the  upper  Astico  a  violent  concentrated  fire 
from  the  Austrian  artillery  of  all  calibers  forced  the  Italians  to 
abandon  their  advanced  positions.  In  the  Asiago  sector  per- 
sistent attacks  were  repulsed.  In  the  Sugana  Valley  the  Aus- 
trians vigorously  attacked  between  the  Val  Maggio  bridgehead 
and  Monte  Collo.  The  prisoners  taken  by  the  Austrians  were 
increased  to  forty-one  officers  and  6,200  men,  and  the  booty  to 
seventeen  machine  guns  and  thirteen  guns.  Along  the  whole 
remaining  front  there  was  artillery  fire.  Sporadic  infantry  at- 
tacks were  made  in  the  San  Pellegrino  Valley,  the  upper  But,  at 
Monte  Nero,  Mrzli,  the  Tohnino  zone,  the  northern  slopes  of 
Monte  San  Michele,  the  region  east  of  Selz,  and  Monfalcone. 

Austrian  aeroplanes  shelled  Castel  Tesino,  Capedaletto,  Mon- 
tebelluna,  and  the  stations  at  Camia  and  Gemona.  Italian  aero- 
planes shelled  Dellach  and  Kotsschach  in  the  Gail  Valley. 

The  shelling  of  Zugna  Torta  was  renewed  on  May  17,  1916, 
when  five  attacks  against  the  Italian  positions  were  repulsed 
with  heavy  losses. 

Meanwhile  artillery  fire  continued  against  the  Italian  posi- 
tions between  Val  Terragnolo  and  the  upper  Astico.  After 
three  days  of  intense  and  uninterrupted  artillery  fire  the  Italians 
abandoned  their  positions  on  Zugna  Torta  on  May  18,  1916,  but 
repulsed  two  attacks  against  their  positions  further  south.  The 
Italians  also  abandoned  their  line  of  resistance  between  Monte 
Soglio  d'Aspio  and  retired  upon  other  prepared  positions. 

Zugna  Torta,  the  ridge  running  down  upon  Rovereto,  between 
Val  Lagarina  and  Vallarsa,  was  a  dangerously  exposed  salient. 
The  western  slopes  were  commanded  by  the  fire  of  the  Austrian 
artillery  positions  at  Biaena,  north  of  More,  on  the  western  side 
of  Val  Lagarina,  and  the  rest  of  the  position  lay  open  to  Ghello 
and  Fenocchio,  east  of  Rovereto.  The  Italians  had  never  been 
able  to  push  forward  their  lines  on  either  side  of  this  salient. 
Biaena  blocked  the  way  on  the  west,  and  the  advance  east  of 
Vallarsa  was  held  up  by  the  formidable  group  of  fortifications 

248  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

on  the  Folgaria  Plateau.  When  the  Austrians  attacked  Zugna 
Torta,  under  cover  of  a  converging  artillery  fire,  the  position 
quickly  became  untenable. 

On  the  same  day  the  Austrians,  for  the  first  time  since  the 
beginning  of  hostilities  between  Italy  and  Austria,  crossed  the 
Italian  frontier  in  the  Lago  di  Garda  region  and  established  them- 
selves on  the  Costabella,  a  ridge  of  the  Monte  Baldo,  between 
the  lake  and  the  Lagarina  Valley.  At  this  point,  where  the  Aus- 
trian offensive  met  with  the  greatest  success,  the  Italians  were 
driven  back  four  miles  from  the  positions  on  Austrian  soil  which 
they  occupied  at  the  opening  of  the  attack  and  which  they  had 
held  early  in  the  war. 

The  Austrian  advance  was  well  maintained  on  the  following 
day.  May  19,  1916,  when  the  Italians  were  driven  from  their 
positions  on  the  Col  Santo,  almost  directly  to  the  west  of  Monte 
Maggio  captured  the  day  before,  between  the  Val  di  Terragnolo 
and  the  Vallarsa. 

By  that  time  the  number  of  Italians  taken  prisoners  by  the 
Austrians  since  May  15,  1916,  had  increased  to  257  officers  and 
13,000  men  and  the  booty  to  109  guns,  including  twelve  how- 
itzers, and  sixty-eight  machine  guns. 

An  Austrian  dispatch  forwarded  at  that  time  from  Trent  tells 
of  the  violent  fighting  which  was  in  progress  in  the  zone  of  Monte 
Adamello  and  the  Tonale  Pass  and  gives  a  description  of  the 
capture  by  the  Austrians  of  an  unarmed  mountain  in  this 

The  preparatory  bombardment  was  begun  at  three  o'clock  in 
the  afternoon,  the  Italian  guns  making  only  a  desultory  reply. 
The  bombardment  was  continued  until  after  sunset,  when  the 
Austrian  infantry  began  to  move  forward  from  the  direction 
of  Fort  Strino,  on  the  Noce  River,  northeast  of  the  Tonale  Pass, 
guided  by  searchlights  and  star  shells. 

The  seasoned  Austrian  troops  encountered  an  extremely  heavy 
machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  as  they  climbed  the  slope,  using  their 
bayonets  to  give  them  support  on  the  slippery  ground,  but  con- 
tinued the  advance,  and  near  the  summit  engaged  the  Italian 
defenders   in  a  hand-to-hand   combat,  and  after  an  hour  of 

AUSTRIAN   DRIVE    IN   THE    TRENTINO         249 

bayonet  fighting  drove  the  Italians  from  their  positions.  Both 
sides  engaging  in  the  encounter  lost  heavily,  according  to  the 

According  to  Rome  dispatches  the  Austrian  troops  were  under 
the  command  of  the  Austrian  heir-apparent,  Archduke  Charles 
Francis  Joseph,  as  well  as  Field  Marshal  Count  von  Hoetben- 
dorff,  chief  of  the  Austrian  General  Staff.  General  Cadoma,  the 
Italian  commander  in  chief,  was  also  said  to  have  established 
his  headquarters  on  the  Trentino  front  to  take  personal  command 
of  the  defense. 

The  special  correspondent  of  the  London  "Times"  describes 
the  fighting  in  the  Trentino  at  this  period  as  follows : 

"It  is  the  fifth  day  of  the  Austrian  offensive.  *We  have  an 
action  in  progress,'  says  the  colonel.  The  night  is  clear  and 
mild.  A  moon,  full  red,  is  rising  on  the  horizon.  Headquarters 
are  located  in  an  ancient  Austrian  feudal  castle,  which  crowns 
a  hilltop.  At  our  feet  the  valley  spreads  out,  and  the  mountain- 
chains  to  the  right  and  left  seem  to  meet  at  an  angle  in  the 
west.  Here  a  blackened  mountain  mass  dominates  the  valley. 
It  is  the  Panarotta,  the  stronghold  of  the  enemy. 

"  The  eye  of  the  Austrians,'  a  young  officer  exclaims,  as  from 
the  crest  a  beam  of  light  breaks  forth,  flaring  with  great  intensity 
on  the  Italian  positions  lower  down.  Immediately  an  Italian 
light  endeavors  to  shine  directly  in  the  path  of  the  Austrian  light 
and  blind  its  rays.  Another  Austrian  light  darts  forth  from 
across  the  valley.  Promptly  an  Italian  searchlight  gives  battle. 
Thus  for  more  than  an  hour  the  opposing  searchlights  endeavor 
to  intercept  one  another.  To-night  the  Austrians  are  on  the  of- 
fensive. Their  lights  sweep  the  hillcrests,  pursued  by  Italian 

"The  moon  is  now  high  in  the  heavens,  the  snow-clad  peaks,  the 
shadowy  ravines,  the  villages  within  Italian  lines,  as  well  as 
those  beyond  the  invisible  ring  of  steel,  are  bathed  in  a  silvery 
light.  We  are  standing  less  than  four  miles  from  the  advanced 
enemy  positions.  The  stage  is  set,  the  battle  is  about  to  begin. 
Information  brought  in  during  the  day  tells  of  fresh  units  of  the 
enemy,  massed  in  second  line.  Deserters,  surrendering  to  Italian 

250  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

patrols,  report  that  an  important  action  is  impending.  The 
general  commanding  bids  us  good  night. 

"We  make  our  way  on  foot  through  quiet  country  lanes. 
Through  the  trees,  the  glimmer  of  the  searchlights*  flashes  comes 
and  goes  like  giant  fireflies.  The  clear  notes  of  a  nightingale 
ring  out  in  the  stillness  of  the  :iight.  Nestling  in  the  valley  lies 
a  large  town,  which  only  a  fortnight  ago  was  filied  with  civilians, 
'redeemed  Italians,'  who  had  enjoyed  eight  months  of  prosperity 
and  liberty  under  Italian  rule.  Now  these  have  been  evacuated 
and  scattered  in  the  four  comers  of  Italy,  and  the  deserted  houses 
and  empty  streets  add  to  the  unreality  of  the  scene.  The  whirr- 
ing of  the  field-telephone  wires  which  hang  low,  hastily  looped 
over  the  branches  of  olive  and  mulberry  trees,  alone  indicates 
any  activity  of  man.  There  are  no  troops  in  sight,  save  a  patrol 
which  stops  us  and  examines  our  papers.  It  seems  difficult  to 
realize  that  a  great  battle  is  impending.  No  scene  could  be 
more  peaceful.  In  the  marshes,  frogs  are  croaking  in  loud 
unison.  The  scent  of  new-mown  hay  is  wafted  across  the 

"The  minutes  hang  heavily.  A  half  hour  passes.  An  hour 
seems  interminable.  This  afternoon,  beyond  the  mountains,  in 
the  next  valley,  not  more  than  nine  miles  away  as  the  crow  flies, 
a  bloody  action  was  fought.  Not  a  sound  of  the  cannonade 
reached  us;  what  had  happend  there  we  did  not  know,  for 
the  Austrians  are  attacking  from  a  single  base,  and  their  battle 
line  is  not  more  than  fifteen  miles  long,  pivoting  on  a  central 
position,  whereas  the  Italian  forces  in  this  same  sector  are  com- 
pelled, by  the  configuration  of  the  mountains  and  the  inter- 
secting valleys,  to  fight  separate  actions  which  can  only  be  co- 
ordinated with  utmost  difficulty. 

"Shortly  before  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  the  Austrian  bat- 
teries open  fire.  From  the  west,  the  north,  the  east,  the  hail 
of  shell  and  shrapnel  tears  open  the  crest  of  the  hill,  the  Monte 
Collo,  against  which  the  attack  is  directed.  So  intense  an  ar- 
tillery fire  has  not  hitherto  been  witnessed  on  the  Italian  front; 
380's,  SOS's,  240's,  149's,  105's  rain  upon  the  short  line  of  Italian 


"For  more  than  three  hours  the  bombardment  continues.  The 
Italian  guns  apparently  refrain  from  answering.  But  every  bat- 
tery is  in  readiness,  every  Italian  gun  is  trained  on  the  spot 
where  the  enemy  must  pass.  Every  man  is  at  his  post,  waiting, 
waiting.  It  is  just  before  dawn.  The  air  of  this  Alpine  Valley  is 
cold  and  raw.  A  bleak  wind  blows  through  the  trees.  The 
cannonade  slackens.  From  our  position  we  cannot  see  the  enemy 
advancing,  but  the  black,  broad  strip  of  newly-upturned  soil  or? 
the  crest  of  the  Monte  Collo  shows  the  effect  of  the  bombard- 
ment.  Split  wide  open  like  a  yarning  crater,  the  hilltop  has 
been  plowed  up  in  every  direction.  Barbed  wire,  parapets,  and 
trench  lines  have  disappeared,  buried  under  the  tangled  earth 

"A  minute,  perhaps  five  or  ten!  'They  are  coming,'  is  whis- 
pered in  the  observation  post.  A  thunder  of  Italian  artillery 
greets  the  attacking  forces.  On  they  come.  Instinctively  one 
can  discern  a  shadowy  mass  moving  forward.  Huddled  together, 
they  crouch  low.  Shells  are  falling  and  then  cease,  and  the  'click,' 
'click,'  of  the  machine  gun's  enfilading  fire  is  heard.  The  enemy 
reaches  the  Italian  advance  trenches.  The  first  streaks  of  light, 
gray  and  cold,  show  new  attacking  forces  coming  up  over  the 
hill.  They  penetrate  deep  into  the  plowed  soil.  They  seem 
to  hold  the  hill.  Stumbling  through  the  cratered  terrain  the  Aus- 
trians  advance  toward  the  Italian  positions.  Then  from  out 
of  the  tawny  earth  an  Italian  battalion  springs  up.  One  can 
almost  imagine  that  one  hears  their  hoarse  battle  cry,  'Avanti, 
Savoia!  Avanti!'  as  they  fall  upon  their  enemies. 

"We  learn  later  that  the  losses  have  been  heavy.  The  Italian 
possessions  have  been  badly  damaged  and  have  been  temporarily 
evacuated.  Both  sides  have  taken  prisoners,  and  what  was  the 
battle  ground  is  now  a  neutral  zone.  Some  hours  later  I  again 
look  across  to  the  Monte  Collo.  The  hill  crest  is  deserted.  Below 
the  summit  fresh  Italian  troops  are  occupying  new  and  stronger 
positions,  while  an  endless  stream  of  pack-mules  is  winding 
slowly  up  the  mountainside." 

On  May  20,  1916,  the  battles  in  southern  Tyrol,  on  the  Lava- 
rone  Plateau,  increased  in  violence  as  the  result  of  Italian  at- 

252  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

tacks.  The  Austrians  reached  the  summit  of  the  Armentara 
Ridge  and  on  the  Lavarone  Plateau  penetrated  the  first  hostile 

The  troops  of  Archduke  Charles  Francis  Joseph  also  added  to 
their  successes.  They  captured  the  Cima  dei  Laghi  and  the 
Cima  di  Nesole.  The  Italians  also  were  driven  from  the  Borgola 
Pass  toward  the  south  and  lost  three  more  twenty-eight  centi- 
meter howitzers  and  3,000  men,  84  officers,  25  guns  and  8 
machine  guns. 

Austrian  aeroplanes  dropped  bombs  on  Vicenza. 

Although  the  Italian  line  still  held  in  the  main,  it  could  not 
deny  Austrian  advances  at  certain  important  points.  Slowly 
the  Austro-Hungarians  pushed  on  everywhere  toward  the  Italian 
frontier.  On  May  21,  1916,  an  attack  of  the  Graz  Corps  on 
Lavarone  Plateau  was  attended  with  complete  success.  The  Ital- 
ians were  driven  from  their  entire  position.  Other  Austrian 
troops  captured  Fima,  Mandriolo  and  the  height  immediately 
west  of  the  frontier  from  the  summit  as  far  as  the  Astico 

The  troops  of  Archduke  Charles  Francis  Joseph  reached  the 
Monte  Tormino  Ma  jo  line. 

Between  the  Astico  and  Brenta,  in  the  Sugana  Valley,  the 
Austrian  attacks  likewise  continued,  supported  by  powerful  ar- 
tillery, against  advanced  lines  in  the  west  valleys  of  Terra  As- 
tico, Doss  Maggio  and  Campelle. 

Since  the  beginning  of  the  offensive  23,883  Italians,  among 
whom  are  482  officers,  had  now  been  captured  and  the  number 
of  cannon  taken  had  been  increased  to  172. 

Between  Lake  Garda  and  the  Adige  large  Austrian  forces 
were  massed  on  May  22,  1916,  in  the  Riva  zone.  There  was  also 
considerable  aerial  activity  on  that  day  on  Monte  Baldo  (the 
mountain  ridge  to  the  east  of  the  lake).  From  the  Adige  to 
the  Astico  there  were  only  reconnoiterings.  Between  the  As- 
tico and  the  Brenta  Rivers  in  the  Sugana  Valley,  the  Italians 
were  again  forced  to  fall  back  gradually  on  their  main  lines 
after  repulsing  heavy  attacks  throughout  the  day.  The  retreat, 
however,  was  orderly  and  spontaneous. 


Besides  accomplishing  their  advance  in  the  Val  Sugana,  the 
Austrians  continued  the  reduction  of  the  forts  protecting  Ar- 
siero,  well  across  the  Italian  frontier  on  the  way  toward  Vicenza. 
Arsiero  is  the  terminus  of  a  railway  leading  down  into  the  Vi- 
cenza plain  and  the  city  of  Vicenza.  Through  the  capture  of  the 
Spitz  Tonezza  and  Monte  Melignone  the  Austrians  now  held 
the  entire  line  across  the  frontier  as  far  as  Fomi  on  the  Astico. 
They  also  pushed  their  advance  toward  the  ridge  north  of  the 
Val  dei  Laghi,  and  toward  Monte  Tormino  and  Monte  Cremone, 
all  three  outlying  defenses  of  Arsiero.  Meanwhile  the  right 
wing  of  the  Austrian  army,  after  storming  Col  Santo,  had 
moved  toward  Monte  Pasubio,  and  the  left  wing  had  stormed 
the  Sasso  Alto,  commanding  the  Armentara  Ridge,  enabling 
the  Austrians  to  advance  into  the  Sugana  Valley  and  to  take 

In  order  to  appreciate  the  difficulties  connected  with  all  of 
this  fighting,  it  must  be  remembered  that  the  fighting  is  going  on 
in  the  mountains,  on  ground  varying  in  altitude  as  much  as 
5,000  feet  per  mile.  The  mountains  were  still  partly  covered 
with  snow  and  the  transportation  of  supplies,  therefore,  was 
exceedingly  difficult. 

As  the  month  of  May  drew  to  its  end,  the  Austrian  advance 
spread  steadily.  By  May  23,  1916,  the  Austrians  had  occupied 
north  of  the  Sugana  Valley  the  ridge  from  Salubio  to  Borgo. 
On  the  frontier  ridge  south  of  the  valley  the  Italians  were  driven 
from  Pompeii  Mountain.  Further  south  the  Italians  success- 
fully defended  the  heights  east  of  the  Val  d*Assa  and  the  fortified 
district  Asiago  and  Arsiero.  The  armored  work  of  Campolono, 
however,  fell  into  Austro-Hungarian  hands.  The  Austro-Hun- 
garian  troops  approached  more  closely  the  Val  d'Assa  and  Posina 

Orderly  as  the  Italian  retreat  was,  it  was  nevertheless  a 
hasty  one.  For  the  official  Italian  report  for  May  23,  1916,  ad- 
mits that  artillery  "that  could  not  be  removed"  was  destroyed. 

Both  the  violence  and  unexpectedness  of  the  Austrian  attacks 
are  testified  to  by  articles  published  at  this  time  in  Italian  news- 
papers.   A  writer  in  the  "Giomale  d'ltalia"  of  Rome  says  that 

254  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"the  Austrian  offensive  came  as  a^  surprise  to  the  Italian  com- 
mand and  the  taking  of  Monte  Maggio  and  other  important  po-» 
sitions  was  possible,  because  the  Italians  were  not  looking  for 
so  heavy  an  attack." 

A  correspondent  of  the  ''Corriere  della  Sera"  of  Milan,  writing 
of  the  extensive  preparations  made  by  the  Austrians  for  the 
present  offensive,  says  "that  the  Austrians  massed  2,000 
guns,  mostly  of  large  caliber,  on  the  twenty-four-mile  front 

Though  it  was  now  scarcely  more  than  a  week  since  the  be- 
ginning of  the  Austrian  offensive,  24,400  Italians  had  been  made 
prisoners,  among  them  524  officers,  and  251  cannon ;  101  machine 
guns  had  been  taken. 

The  Italians,  of  course,  appreciated  fully  the  deeper  meaning 
of  this  Austrian  offensive.  They  understood  that  the  Austrian 
objective  was  not  simply  to  reduce  the  Italian  pressure  on  Trent 
or  to  drive  the  Italians  out  of  southern  Tyrol,  but  to  advance 
themselves  into  Italy.  At  the  same  time,  Italy  also  knew  that, 
though  such  an  advance  was  not  an  impossibility,  its  successful 
accomplishment  for  any  great  distance  or  duration  would  be 
seriously  handicapped  by  the  fact  that  the  preponderance  of 
numbers  was  unquestionably  on  the  Italian  and  not  the  Aus- 
trian side.  This  confidence  found  expression  in  an  order  of  the 
day  issued  at  this  junction  by  King  Victor  Emmanuel  in  which 
he  says : 

"Soldiers  of  land  and  sea:  Responding  with  enthusiasm 
to  the  appeal  of  the  country  a  year  ago,  you  hastened  to  fight, 
in  conjunction  with  our  brave  allies,  our  hereditary  enemy  and 
assure  the  realization  of  our  national  claims. 

"After  having  surmounted  difficulties  of  every  nature,  you 
have  fought  in  a  hundred  combats  and  won,  for  you  have  the 
ideal  of  Italy  in  your  heart.  But  the  country  again  asks  of  you 
new  efforts  and  more  sacrifices. 

"I  do  not  doubt  that  you  will  know  how  to  give  new  proofs  of 
bravery  and  force  of  mind.  The  country,  proud  and  grateful, 
sustains  you  in  your  arduous  task  by  its  fervent  affections,  its 
calm  demeanor  and  its  admirable  confidence. 

AUSTRIAN   DRIVE    IN   THE    TRENTINO         255 

"I  sincerely  hope  that  fortune  will  accompany  us  in  future 
battles,  as  you  accompany  my  constant  thoughts." 

Still  further  Austrian  successes  were  reported  on  May  24, 
1916.  In  the  Sugana  Valley  they  occupied  the  Salubio  Ridge 
and  drove  the  Italians  from  Kempel  Mountain. 

In  the  Lagarina  Valley,  after  an  intense  night  bombardment/ 
Austrian  forces  attacked  twice  toward  Serravalle  and  Col  di 
Buole,  but  were  vigorously  repulsed.  Next  morning  the  attack 
on  Col  di  Buole  was  renewed  with  fresh  troops,  but  again  re- 
pulsed with  heavy  loss.  Italian  troops  followed  up  this  repulse 
and  reoccupied  the  height  of  Darmeson,  southeast  of  Col  di  Buole. 

Between  the  Val  d'Assa  and  Posina  the  Austrians,  after  hav- 
ing kept  Italian  positions  at  Pasubio  under  violent  bombardment, 
launched  a  night  attack  with  strong  columns  of  infantry,  which 
were  mowed  down  by  Italian  fire  and  thrown  back  in  disorder. 
Between  Posina  and  the  Astico  the  Austrians  unmasked  their 
heavy  artillery  along  the  Monte  Maggio-Toraro  line,  but  Italian 
guns  replied  effectively. 

On  May  25,  1916,  the  Austro-Hungarians  occupied  the  Cima 
Cista,  crossed  the  Maso  rivulet  and  entered  Strigno  in  the  Val 
Sugana,  four  miles  northeast  of  Borgo  and  a  little  less  than 
that  distance  southeast  of  Salubio,  with  the  Maso  stream  be- 
tween. They  also  captured  the  Corno  di  Campo  Verde  to  the 
east  of  Grigno,  on  the  Italian  border  and  occupied  Chiesa  on 
the  Vallarsa  Plateau,  southwest  of  Pasubio. 


THE     RISE     AND     FAILURE     OF     THE 

"DY  May  26,  1916,  the  center  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  army 
■*-^  was  sweeping  down  toward  Arsiero,  while  another  strong 
force  further  west  was  within  ten  miles  of  the  Italian  city  of 
Schio.  Both  of  these  points  are  terminals  of  the  railroad  sys- 
tem of  which  Vicenza  is  the  center.   That  day  some  of  the  ar- 

Q— War  St  5 

256  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

mored  works  of  Arsiero  and  some  strongly  fortified  positions 
southwest  of  Bacarola  were  captured  and  Monte  Mochicce  was 
occupied.  Another  Austrian  success  was  the  capture  of  the  en- 
tire mountain  range  from  Como  di  Campo  Verde  to  Montemeata 
(in  the  Val  d*Assa).  The  Italians  suffered  sanguinary  losses 
and  also  lost  more  than  2,500  prisoners,  four  guns,  four  machine 
guns,  300  bicycles  and  much  other  material. 

In  the  Monte  Nero  zone  on  the  night  of  May  26,  1916,  the 
Austro-Hungarians  attacked  Italian  trenches  near  Vrsic  and  suc- 
ceeded in  gaining  a  temporary  foothold.  When  reenforcements 
arrived,  after  a  violent  counterattack,  the  Italians  drove  out  the 
enemy,  taking  some  prisoners  and  machine  guns. 

The  natural  difficulties  in  the  way  of  the  Austro-Hungarian 
invaders  were  so  manifold  and  severe  that  it  appeared  at  times 
as  if  the  offensive  had  come  to  a  standstill.  However,  this  was 
not  the  case.  Slowly  but  surely  it  progressed  and  as  it  pro- 
gressed it  even  spread  out.  Thus  on  May  27,  1916,  the  Austrians 
not  only  captured  a  fortification  at  Coronolo,  west  of  Arsiero, 
and  also  a  barricade  in  the  Assa  Valley,  southwest  of  Monte 
Interrotto,  but  also  carried  their  offensive  further  toward  the 
west  until  it  included  the  northern  end  of  Lake  Garda. 

Again  on  May  28,  1916,  the  Italians  had  to  give  way.  The 
Austrians  crossed  the  Assa  Valley  near  Roana,  four  and  a  half 
miles  southwest  of  Asiago.  They  also  repulsed  Italian  attacks 
near  Canove,  between  Asiago  and  Schio,  and  occupied  the  south- 
em  slopes  and  captured  the  fortifications  on  the  Monte  Ingrotto 
heights,  north  of  Asiago,  after  having  taken  Monte  Cebio,  Monte 
Sieglarella  and  the  Como  di  Campo  Bianco.  In  the  upper  Posina 
Valley  the  Italians  were  driven  out  of  their  positions  west  and 
south  of  Webalen. 

With  renewed  vigor  the  Austrians  attacked  on  May  29,  1916. 
As  a  result  the  armored  work  of  Punta  Gorda  fell  into  their 
hands,  and  west  of  Arsiero  they  forced  the  crossing  of  the  Posina 
Brook  and  occupied  the  heights  on  the  southern  bank  in  the  face 
of  determined  Italian  resistance. 

The  next  day.  May  30,  1916,  Austrian  troops,  northeast  of 
Asiago,  drove  the  Italians  from  GsMJn  and  stormed  positions  on 


the  heights  northward.  Monte  Baldo  and  Monte  Fiara  fell  into 
their  hands.  West  of  Asiago  the  Austrian  line  south  of  the  Assa 
Valley  was  advanced  to  the  conquered  Italian  position  of  Punta 
Gorda.  The  troops  which  had  crossed  the  day  before  the  Posina 
took  Monte  Priafora. 

This  brought  the  Austrians  so  near  to  Asiago  that  the  Italians 
deemed  it  wise  to  evacuate  this  town,  holding,  however,  the 
hills  to  the  east.  In  spite  of  the  gradual  advance  of  the  Austrian 
center,  the  Italian  wings  held  and  severely  punished  the  at- 
tacking Austrians.  This  was  made  possible  by  the  admirable 
Italian  motor  transports  which  enabled  the  Italian  command 
to  bring  up  great  reenforcements  and  stop  the  gap  made  in  the 
first  line.  The  most  serious  loss  which  they  suffered  was  that  of 
the  big  guns  the  Italians  were  obliged  to  abandon  on  the  Monte 
Maggio-Spitz  Tonezza  line. 

The  Austrian  offensive  was  now  in  its  second  week.  So  far  it 
had  yielded  in  prisoners  30,388  Italians,  including  694  officers 
and  299  cannon. 

Reviewing  the  Austro-Hungarian  offensive  up  to  this  point, 
the  military  critic  of  the  Berlin  "Tageblatt"  says : 

"The  Austro-Hungarian  advance  is  in  progress  on  a  front  of 
thirty-one  miles  .between  the  Adige  and  the  Brenta.  This  is 
about  the  same  distance  as  the  front  between  Gorlice  and  Tar- 
now,  in  Galicia,  over  which  the  offensive  against  the  Russians 
was  conducted  thirteen  months  ago. 

"The  general  direction  of  the  advance  is  toward  the  Italian 
line  running  through  Asiago,  Arsiero,  and  Schio,  which  up  to 
the  present  time  had  been  protected  by  advanced  positions.  This 
line  represents  the  third  and  last  fortified  defensive  position, 
the  strategic  object  of  which  is  to  prevent  an  invasion  of  the 
Venetian  plain. 

"The  Austro-Hungarian  troops  already  have  disposed  of  the 
loftiest  heights,  which  presents  a  situation  favorable  to  them. 
When  the  heavy  artillery  has  been  brought  into  place  there  will 
be  visible  evidence  of  this. 

"The  total  Italian  casualties  thus  far  are  not  less  than  80,000 
inen.  The  loss  of  more  than  200  cannon  is  exceedingly  serious 

258  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

for  the  Italians,  since  they  cannot  be  replaced  during  the 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  on  May  30,  1916,  the  Austrians  had 
forced  their  way  across  the  Posina  torrent  between  Posina  and 
Arsiero  and  succeeded  in  partly  enveloping  the  latter,  a  force 
which  attempted  to  take  Sant'  Ubaldo,  immediately  southeast  of 
Arsiero,  on  May  31,  1916,  was  driven  back  by  the  Italians  be- 
yond the  Posina,  thus  relieving  the  strongest  pressure  on  the 
town.  A  little  further  west  another  Austrian  force  attacked  the 
Italian  positions  on  Monte  Spin,  southeast  of  Posina.  The  Italian 
lines  held  on  the  mountain  slopes  and  the  Austrian  advance  here 
was  checked.  West  of  Posina  an  Austrian  assault  on  Monte 
Fomi  Alti  was  repulsed.  On  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau,  where 
the  Austrians  were  advancing  against  Asiago,  they  began  opera- 
tions against  the  Italian  positions  on  Monte  Cengio  and  Campo 

On  June  1,  1916,  however,  the  Austro-Hungarians  in  the  Ar- 
siero region  captured  Monte  Barro  and  gained  a  firm  footing  on 
the  south  bank  of  the  Posina  torrent.  Repeated  night  attacks 
along  the  Posina  front  against  the  northern  slopes  of  Monte 
Forni  Alti  and  in  the  direction  of  Quaro,  southwest  of  Arsiero, 
were  repulsed. 

All  day  long  an  intense  uninterrupted  bombardment  by  Aus- 
trian batteries  of  all  calbers  was  maintained  against  the  Italian 
lines  in  the  Col  di  Xomo-Rochette  sector  (southwest  of  Posina). 

On  the  left  wing  the  Austrians,  leaving  massed  heavy  forces 
between  Posina  and  Fusine  (in  the  Posina  Valley,  east  of 
T^osina),  made  numerous  efforts  to  advance  toward  Monte 

On  the  right  wing  strong  Austro-Hungarian  columns  in  the 
afternoon  launched  a  violent  attack  against  Segheschiri.  These 
were  completely  repulsed  after  a  fierce  engagement. 

In  the  uplands  of  the  Sette  Comuni  there  was  an  intense 
and  obstinate  struggle  along  the  positions  south  of  the  Assa 
Valley  as  far  as  Asiago.  Italian  troops  holding  the  Monte  Cengio 
Plateau  determinedly  withstood  powerful  infantry  attacks  sup- 
ported by  a  most  violent  bombardment. 


On  the  front  pajrallel  with  the  Asiago-Guglio-Valle  road  near 
Campo  Mullo  the  Italians  gained  ground  by  a  violent  counter- 
offensive  in  spite  of  the  strong  Austrian  resistance. 

Intense  artillery  and  infantry  fighting  along  the  Trentino 
front  continued  unabated  on  June  2,  1916,  and  according  to  the 
official  Italian  statement  the  Austrian  offensive  in  some  places 
was  checked.  The  Austrian  infantry  on  Zugna  Torta  was  scat- 
tered by  the  fierce  Italian  infantry  fire. 

Around  Asiero  and  on  the  Asiago  Plateau  in  Italy,  the  Italians 
repulsed  Austrian  infantry.  The  Belmonte  position  northeast  of 
Monte  Cengio,  where  the  struggle  was  fiercest  and  which  was 
repeatedly  taken  and  lost,  was  finally  definitely  occupied  by 
the  Italians. 

Several  Italian  towns,  including  Vicenza  and  Verona,  were  at- 
tacked by  Austrian  aeroplanes,  while  Italian  air  squadrons  in 
a  raid  on  objects  of  military  importance  in  the  lower  Astico  Val- 
ley, dropped  100  bombs  on  various  enemy  camps  and  munition 

The  next  day,  June  3,  1916,  the  Austrian  attack  once  more 
found  fresh  impetus.  In  spite  of  desperate  Italian  resistance  on 
the  ridge  south  of  the  Posina  Valley  and  before  Monte  Cengio, 
on  the  Asiago  front,  south  of  Monte  Cengio,  considerable  ground 
was  won  and  the  town  of  Cesuna  was  captured.  Italian  counter- 
attacks were  repulsed. 

During  this  one  day  5,600  prisoners,  including  seventy-eight 
officers,  were  taken  and  three  cannon,  eleven  machine  guns  and 
126  horses  were  captured. 

In  the  region  west  of  the  Astico  Valley  fighting  activity  was 
generally  less  pronounced  on  June  4,  1916,  than  it  had  been 
during  the  preceding  days.  South  of  Posina  Austrian  troops 
took  a  strong  point  of  support  and  repulsed  several  Italian  coun- 

East  of  the  Astico  Valley,  Austrian  groups  situated  on  the 
heights  east  of  Arsiero  stormed  Monte  Panoccio  (east  of  Monte 
Barco)  and  thereby  gained  command  of  the  Canaglio  Valley. 

Considerable  fighting  occurred  on  June  5,  1916,  without,  how- 
ever, resulting  in  any  important  changes.    Austro-Hungarian 

260  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

attacks,  preceded  by  intensive  artillery  fire,  were  launched  all 
along  the  Trentino  front,  but  were  met  everywhere  with  deter- 
mined Italian  resistance.  Italian  aeroplanes  attacked  the  rail- 
way stations  of  San  Bona  di  Piava,  Livenca  and  Lati  Sana,  while 
Austrian  airmen  bombed  the  stations  of  Verona,  Ala  and  Vi- 

Since  June  1,  1916,  9,700  Italians,  including  184  officers,  had 
been  captured,  as  well  as  thirteen  machine  guns  and  five  cannons. 

On  June  6,  1916,  activities  were  restricted  to  artillery  duels, 
although  the  Austrians  southwest  of  Asiago  continued  the  at- 
tack near  Cesuna  and  captured  Monte  del  Busiballo,  southwest 
of  Cesuna. 

More  and  more  it  became  evident  now  that  the  force  of  the 
Austrian  offensive  had  been  spent.  The  pressure  on  the  Italian 
center  in  the  Trentino  front  gradually  diminished  as  a  result 
of  the  determined  Italian  resistance,  which  had  made  impossible 
an  equal  progress  of  the  Austrian  wings.  Possibly,  too,  the 
great  Russian  offensive  on  the  southeastern  front  made  itself 
felt  even  now.  At  any  rate,  there  was  a  decided  slowing  down 
of  infantry  attacks.  At  one  point,  however,  on  the  Sette  Com- 
uni  Plateau,  the  battle  raged  along  the  whole  front.  On  the 
evening  of  June  6,  1916,  after  an  intense  artillery  preparation, 
the  Austro-Hungarians  made  repeated  attacks  against  Italian 
positions  south  and  southwest  of  Asiago.  The  action,  raging 
fiercely  throughout  the  night  of  June  6-7,  ended  in  the  morning 
of  June  7th  with  the  defeat  of  the  Austrian  columns.  During  the 
afternoon  the  Austrians  renewed  their  violent  efforts  against  the 
center  and  right  wing  of  the  Italian  positions.  Preceded  by 
the  usual  intense  bombardment,  dense  infantry  masses  repeat- 
edly launched  assaults  against  positions  south  of  Asiago,  east 
of  the  Campo  Mulo  Valley,  but  were  always  repulsed  with  heavy 

Concerning  the  Austro-Hungarian  troops  who  had  carried  this 
offensive  into  Italy,  the  special  correspondent  of  the  London 
''Times*'  says: 

'Trench  warfare,  for  the  time  being,  has  been  abandoned 
here.  Trench  lines  no  longer  count. 


"Great  troop  masses  are  maneuvering  in  the  open,  through 
the  valleys  and  gorges,  swarming  over  the  summits  of  these 
mountains.  The  Austrians  dare  advance  only  as  far  as  the  long 
arm  of  their  guns  will  reach,  and  are  bending  all  their  energy 
to  bring  up  these  guns.  It  is  a  gigantic  task,  and  the  skill  of  the 
enemy  commander  in  holding  together  and  coordinating  his  at- 
tacks, now  that  his  troops  have  entered  these  defiles,  must  be 

"It  is  sledge-hammer  tactics,  so  dear  to  the  Prussians,  that  the 
Austrian  commanders  have  adopted,  and  from  the  general  as- 
pect of  their  plans,  it  would  appear  that  these  were  prepared 
and  matured  in  Berlin  rather  than  in  Vienna. 

"How  long  can  it  last?  How  long  before  the  Austrian  effort 
will  have  spent  itself?"  are  the  questions  that  are  being  asked 
here  as  the  second  week  of  this  great  battle  is  drawing  to  a  close. 
For,  unlike  Verdun,  it  is  not  a  fortress  that  is  being  assaulted, 
but  a  great  drive,  carried  on  by  siege  methods.  Not  converging 
on  a  single  center,  but  radiating,  like  sticks  of  a  fan,  from  a  cen- 
tral base. 

"So  much  has  been  written  regarding  the  exhaustion  of  the 
resources  of  the  Dual  Monarchy,  not  only  of  materials,  but  of 
men.  In  how  far  is  this  true? 

"To  deal  first  with  the  question  of  ordnance.  The  Austrians, 
it  is  estimated  by  competent  experts,  have  well  over  2,000  pieces 
of  artillery  in  action  along  this  battle  line.  These  include  a  great 
number  of  heavy-caliber  guns.  Naval  guns,  with  an  extreme 
length  of  range,  are  being  used  with  great  skill  throughout  the 
engagement.  Kept  in  reserve,  and  silent,  though  posted  close  up 
to  the  firing  line,  they  have  had  a  disconcerting  eifect,  in  that 
their  fire  has  reached  far  behind  the  Italian  lines  at  intervals 
between  the  attacks,  firing  shots  at  random  which  did  little  ac- 
tual damage,  but  gave  the  impression  of  continued  advance.  With 
the  front  of  this  battle  line  extending  now  to  a  length  of  twenty- 
two  miles,  the  artillery  of  the  enemy  works  out  at  nearly  100 
pieces  to  the  mile,  or  one  gun  every  twenty  yards. 

'The  shells  fired  by  this  artillery  are  of  excellent  workman- 
ship.  I  have  on  my  table  as  I  write  a  fragment  of  a  10-inch  shell 

262  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

which  I  picked  up  here.  It  is  rent  in  deep  fissures,  which  would 
prove,  according  to  competent  authority,  that  the  explosive  ma- 
terials used  are  good.  *The  Austrians  fired  away  all  their  bad 
shells  during  preliminary  actions,'  was  the  comment  of  a  young 
staff  officer  who  is  in  the  habit  of  recording  the  efficiency  of 
enemy  shells.  But  it  is  quantity  as  well  as  quality  which  the 
enemy  is  relying  upon. 

"  'Twenty  thousand  shells  were  fired  against  my  position  the 
first  two  days  of  the  engagement,*  an  Alpini  major,  commanding 
a  small  knoll,  remarked  to  me.  Using  this  as  a  basis,  it  would 
not  be  far  from  the  truth  to  assert  that  over  1,000,000  shells 
have  been  fired  by  the  enemy  in  the  present  battle,  and  there  is 
as  yet  no  slackening  of  effort. 

"And  the  troops?  This  morning  a  group  of  some  250  Aus- 
trians, taken  during  the  action  last  night,  are  in  this  village. 
They  are  divided  in  squads  of  twenty-five,  each  in  charge  of  an 
Austrian  noncommissioned  officer.  The  men  had  had  six  hours' 
rest  before  I  saw  them.  These  prisoners  are  Rumanians  from 
Transylvania.  They  are  young,  well~set-up  troops.  They  are  nat- 
urally glad  to  be  prisoners,  though  their  captors  tell  me  that  they 
fought  valiantly.  The  equipment  of  these  men  is  new,  and  I 
was  struck  by  the  excellent  quality  of  their  boots;  high,  new 
leather,  thick  mountain  boots.  In  fact,  all  their  leather  accouter- 
ments  are  new,  and  of  good  leather.  Their  uniforms  are  in  many 
cases  of  heavy  cotton  twill,  very  tough,  and  resisting  the  hard 
mountain  fighting  better  than  the  usual  cloth  uniform.  Nearly 
every  man  has  an  overcoat,  which  is  of  stout  new  cloth.  Only 
five  or  six  of  the  men  are  without  caps.  None  have  helmets  of 
any  kind,  but  all  wear  the  soft  cap  with  ear  flaps  tied  back. 
According  to  answers  given  to  the  interpreter,  they  are  of  the 
class  of  1915,  and  have  seen  fighting  in  Galicia. 

"Asked  about  their  food,  they  replied  that  they  did  not  get 
enough  to  eat,  but  their  looks  belied  their  statements.  Whatever 
may  be  the  truth  in  regard  to  the  meatless  and  fatless  days  in 
the  Hapsburg  Empire,  the  armies  in  the  field  are  not  suffering 
in  this  respect,  and,  though  the  civilians  at  home  are  now  put  on 
strict  rations,  their  soldiers'  rations,  in  this  sector  at  least,  have 



264  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

not  been  cut  down.  I  was  shown  small  tins  of  meat,  taken  from 
the  knapsack  of  a  prisoner,  and  several  carried  3-ounce  tins  of 
a  good  quality  of  butter.  In  another  sector  I  saw  Bosnian  pris- 
oners wearing  a  gray  fez,  and  looking  much  like  Turkish  troops. 
They  also  impressed  me  as  very  fit  men ;  in  fact,  all  the  prisoners 
taken  recently  would  seem  to  be  of  strong  fiber,  and  far  better 
equipped  than  Austrian  troops  which  I  have  seen  elsewhere. 

"It  is  evident  that  the  Austrian  commanders  have  assembled 
the  picked  troops  of  the  Dual  Monarchy  for  the  storming  of 
these  Trentino  heights.  Everything  would  point  to  the  fact  that 
they  are  making  a  supreme  and  final  effort  to  win  the  war.  Pris- 
oners confirm  this  by  stating  that  the  war  cannot  go  on  much 

"Are  the  last  good  reserves  being  used  up  in  this  battle?  Yes- 
terday morning  an  Italian  patrol  coming  in  from  the  night's 
tour  of  inspection  of  their  positions  bring  in  a  prisoner.  He  is 
a  burly,  thick-lipped  peasant  boy  of  twenty,  dressed  in  a  Russian 
uniform.  On  his  loose-fitting  blouselike  tunic,  torn  in  many 
places,  is  pinned  a  black  and  yellow  ribbon,  and  hanging  from  a 
thin  remaining  strand  shines  the  silver  medal  of  St.  George.  An 
Italian  subaltern  takes  charge  of  the  prisoner. 

"  *A  Russian  refugee,'  the  officer  remarks,  in  answer  to  my 
look  of  surprise  at  the  sight  of  a  Russian  prisoner  being  brought 
in  by  an  Italian  patrol  on  the  Trentino  front.  The  Russian  smiles 
good-naturedly,  as  he  feels  secure,  now  that  he  is  among  friends. 
In  due  time  he  will  be  repatriated,  or  perhaps  join  the  Russian 
corps  in  France.  We  leave  him  busy  over  a  big  bowl  of  macaroni. 

"  'There  are  close  to  20,000  Russian  prisoners  of  war  employed 
by  the  Austrians  along  our  front,  repairing  roads,  making 
trenches,  and  engaged  on  other  'noncombatant  military  duties,' 
the  officer  informed  me.  'A  few  manage  to  escape  into  our  lines 
nearly  every  day,  but  many  more  Russian  dead  lie  in  the  silent 
crevasses  of  our  high  mountains  who  have  lost  their  lives  while 
attempting  to  escape. 

"  'You  see,  they  need  the  men,'  he  concluded,  as  we  watched 
an  endless  stream  of  fresh  Italian  troops  winding  their  way  up 
from  the  valley." 




HARDLY  had  the  Austro-Hungarian  offensive  shown  signs 
of  weakening  when  the  Italians  themselves  began  to  attack 
the  invaders.  The  first  indication  of  this  change  was  gleaned 
from  the  wording  of  the  official  statements,  covering  military- 
operations  on  the  Italian  front  for  June  9,  1916.  No  longer  is 
there  any  mention  of  Austro-Hungarian  advances,  but  on  the 
contrary  this  term  appears  now  in  the  reports  concerning  the 
military  operations  of  the  Italian  troops,  who  are  also  reported 
as  "making  attacks."  Of  course,  this  turn  in  affairs  developed 
slowly  in  the  beginning. 

Thus,  although  on  June  9,  1916,  the  Italian  troops  attacked  at 
many  points  along  the  entire  front  between  the  Adige  and  Brenta 
Rivers,  most  of  these  attacks  were  repulsed  by  the  Austro-Hun- 
garians,  who  were  still  able  to  claim  the  capture  of  some  1,600 
prisoners.  At  the  same  time  Italian  forces  began  to  push  back 
the  invaders  at  some  points  and  were  able  to  advance  in  the 
upper  Arsa  Valley  in  the  Monte  Novegno  region,  between  the 
Posina  and  Val  d'Astico,  as  well  as  on  the  western  slopes  of 
Monte  Cengio.  Artillery  duels  were  maintained  along  the  entire 
balance  of  the  front  to  the  sea.  Austrian  aeroplanes  dropped 
bombs  on  various  localities  in  the  Venetian  plain,  while  an 
Italian  squadron  shelled  Austro-Hungarian  positions  in  the  Arsa 
Valley  and  the  Val  d'Astico. 

Much  the  same  was  the  result  of  the  fighting  on  June  10  and 
11,  1916.  On  the  former  day  the  Austro-Hungarians  concen- 
trated their  efforts  still  more  and  restricted  themselves  to  an  at- 
tack against  a  small  portion  of  the  Italian  front  southeast  of 
Asiago.  After  an  intense  bombardment  strong  forces  numbering 
about  one  division  repeatedly  attacked  the  Monte  Lemerle  posi- 
tions. They  were  repulsed  with  very  heavy  losses  by  counter- 

266  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

From  the  Adige  to  the  Brenta  the  Italian  offensive  action  was 
increasing.  Infantry,  effectively  supported  by  artillery,  made 
fresh  progress  along  the  Vallarsa  height,  south  of  the  Posina,  in 
the  Astico  Valley,  at  the  Frenzela  Valley  bridgehead,  on  the 
Asiago  Plateau,  and  to  the  left  of  the  Maso  torrent. 

During  the  following  day  Austro-Hungarian  artillery  intensely 
bombarded  the  Italian  positions  near  Conizugna  in  the  Lagarina 
Valley.  In  the  Arsa  Valley,  in  the  Pasubio  sector,  on  the  Posina, 
and  on  the  Astico  line  Italian  infantry  advance  continued  de- 
spite violent  artillery  fire  and  a  snowstorm. 

Two  Austrian  counterattacks  toward  Fomi  Alti  and  Campig- 
liazione  were  repulsed  with  very  heavy  losses.  In  the  plateau  of 
the  Sette  Comuni,  southwest  of  Asiago,  Italian  advanced  de- 
tachments, after  passing  the  Canaglia  Valley,  progressed  toward 
the  southeastern  slopes  of  Monte  Cengio,  Monte  Barco,  and  Monte 
Busibello.  In  the  Sugana  Valley  detachments  progressed  toward 
the  Masso  torrent,  repulsing  two  Austrian  counterattacks  near 
Sucrelle.  Along  the  remainder  of  the  front  there  were  artillery 
duels  and  bomb-throwing  activity  by  small  detachments.  Aus- 
trian aeroplanes  dropped  bombs  on  Vicenza,  hitting  the  military 
hospital,  and  also  attacked  Thiene,  Venice,  and  Mestre,  causing 
slight  damage. 

Still  further  ground  was  gained  by  the  Italian  forces  on  June 
12,  1916,  in  spite  of  the  most  obstinate  resistance. 

In  the  Lagarina  Valley,  by  a  strong  attack  after  artillery 
preparation,  the  Italians  carried  the  strongly  fortified  line  from 
Parmesan,  east  of  the  Cima  Mezzana,  to  Rio  Romini.  The  Aus- 
tro-Hungarians  immediately  launched  violent  counterattacks, 
but  were  always  repulsed. 

Along  the  Posina-Astico  front  there  was  an  intense  bom- 
bardment by  both  sides.  Austrian  infantry,  which  succeeded  in 
penetrating  Molisini,  was  driven  out  by  gunfire,  pursued  and 

In  the  Sugana  Valley  on  the  night  of  June  12,  1916,  and 
the  fallowing  morning,  Austrian  detachments  attempting  to 
advance  east  of  the  Maso  torrent  were  repulsed  with  very  heavy 


Once  more  the  Austro-Hungarians  attempted  to  wrest  the 
initiative  from  their  opponents,  without,  however,  succeeding  to 
any  extent.  On  the  Posina  front  on  the  evening  of  June  12,  1916, 
after  violent  artillery  preparation,  they  attacked  Monte  Fomi 
Alti,  the  Campiglia  (both  southwest  of  Posina) ,  Monte  Ciove  and 
Monte  Brazonne  (both  south  of  Arsiero),  but  were  everywhere 
repulsed  with  heavy  losses. 

During  the  day  they  bombarded  with  numerous  batteries  of 
all  calibers  the  Italian  positions  along  the  whole  front  from  the 
Adige  to  the  Brenta,  especially  in  the  Monte  Novegno  zone.  The 
Italian  troops  firmly  withstood  the  violent  fire  and  repelled  in- 
fantry detachments  which  attempted  to  advance. 

Austro-Hungarian  hydroaeroplanes  attacked  the  station  and 
military  establishments  at  San  Giorgio  di  Nogaro,  as  well  as  the 
inner  harbor  at  Grado. 

More  and  more  it  became  evident  that  the  Austro-Hungarian 
drive  in  the  Trentino  region  had  definitely  been  stopped  or  aban- 
doned. From  time  to  time,  it  is  true,  the  Austrians  returned  to 
the  offensive.  But  this  was  always  of  local  importance  only  and 
restricted  in  strength  and  extent.  The  Italians,  on  the  other 
hand,  not  only  maintained  their  new  offensive  movement,  but 
even  extended  gradually  its  sphere. 

Two  attempted  attacks  by  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces  in  the 
region  of  Monte  Novegno,  made  in  the  direction  of  Monte  Ciove 
and  Monte  Brazonne,  were  repulsed.  But  on  Monte  Lemerle, 
against  which  the  Austrians  had  launched  without  success  a 
very  violent  attack  only  a  few  days  before,  they  now  surprised 
a  hostile  detachment  near  the  summit  and  captured  the  mountain 
completely,  taking  500  prisoners. 

Italian  activity  was  renewed  again  on  the  Isonzo  front.  After 
intense  artillery  preparation  a  Naples  brigade,  supported  by 
dismounted  cavalry  detachments,  in  a  surprise  attack,  pene^ 
trated  Austrian  lines  east  of  Monfalcone.  The  trenches  re- 
mained in  Italian  possession  after  a  severe  struggle,  duringf 
which  10  officers,  488  men,  and  7  machine  guns  were  captured. 

Italian  squadrons  of  aeroplanes  bombarded  the  railway  station 
at  Mattarello,  in  the  Lagarina  Valley,  and  encampments  at  the 

268  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

junction  of  the  Nos  and  Campomulo  Valleys  on  the  Asiago 
Plateau,  while  Austrian  aeroplanes  dropped  bombs  on  Padova, 
Giorgio  di  Nogaro,  and  Porto  Rosega. 

The  Italian  advance  was  steadily  maintained  from  now  on, 
not  without,  however,  finding  everywhere  the  stiffest  kind  of 
resistance,  which  at  times  made  it  even  possible  for  the  Austro- 
Hungarians  to  gain  slight  local  successes.  These,  however,  were 
not  extensive  or  frequent  enough  to  change  the  general  picture 
of  military  operations  on  the  Austro-Italian  front.  The  Aus- 
trians,  though  still  on  Italian  territory  in  a  number  of  localities, 
were  on  the  defensive  with  the  Italians,  though  making  only  very 
slow  and  painful  progress,  unquestionably  on  the  offensive. 

On  June  16,  1916,  the  Italians  advanced  northeast  of  Asiago, 
between  the  Frenzela  Valley  and  Marcesina.  Notwithstanding 
the  difficult  and  intricate  nature  of  the  terrain  and  the  stubborn 
resistance  of  the  Austrians,  intrenched  and  supported  by  numer- 
ous batteries,  the  Italian  troops  made  progress  at  the  head  of 
the  Frenzela  Valley,  on  the  heights  of  Monte  Fior  and  Monte 
Castel  Gomberto  and  west  of  Marcesina.  The  best  results  were 
attained  on  the  right  wing,  where  Alpine  troops  carried  the 
positions  of  Malga  Fossetta  and  Monte  Magari,  inflicting  heavy 
losses  on  the  Austrians  and  taking  203  prisoners,  a  battery  of 
6  guns,  4  machine  guns,  and  much  material. 

During  the  next  few  days  the  most  fierce  fighting  occurred  on 
the  plateau  of  Sette  Comuni.  All  Austrian  attempts  to  resume 
the  offensive  and  continue  their  advance  failed.  The  Italian  ad- 
vance was  scarcely  more  successful;  fighting  had  to  be  done 
in  the  most  difficult  territory;  strong  Austrian  resistance  devel- 
oped everywhere.  Thunderstorms  frequently  added  to  the  diffi- 
culties already  existent.  Yet  slowly  the  Italian  forces  pushed 
back  the  invader. 

On  June  18,  1916,  Alpine  troops  carried  with  the  bayonet 
Cima  di  Sidoro,  north  of  the  Frenzela  Valley.  Fighting  devel- 
oped in  the  Boite  sector,  where  the  Italians  had  made  some  slight 
gains  during  the  previous  days,  which  the  Austrians  tried  to  dis- 
pute. Heavy  Italian  artillery  bombarded  the  railway  station  at 
Toblach  and  the  Landro  road  in  the  Rienz  Valley.     Artillery 


and  aeroplane  activity  was  extremely  lively  during  this  period; 
Not  a  day  passed  without  artillery  duels  at  many  scattered  points 
along  the  entire  front  from  the  Swiss  border  down  to  the  Adri- 
atic. Aeroplane  squadrons  of  considerable  force  paid  continu- 
ously visits  to  the  opposing  lines,  dropping  bombs  on  lines  of 
communication  and  railway  stations. 

Alpine  troops  captured  a  strong  position  for  the  Italians  on 
June  20,  1916,  at  the  head  of  the  Posina  Valley,  southwest  of 
Monte  Purche.  On  the  22d  the  Italians  pushed  their  advance 
beyond  Romini  in  the  Arsa  Valley,  east  of  the  Mezzana  Peak,  and 
on  the  Lora  Spur,  west  of  Monte  Pasubio. 

On  the  same  day  the  Austrians  counterattacked  with  extreme 
violence  at  Malga  Fossetta  and  Castel  Gomberto,  but  were  re- 
pulsed with  heavy  losses.  On  the  21st  a  further  Austrian  at- 
tack at  Cucco  di  Mandrielle  resulted  in  a  rout.  On  the  22d  the 
Italians,  while  holding  all  the  Austrian  first-line  approaches 
under  heavy  fire  to  prevent  the  bringing  up  of  reserves,  attacked 
on  the  entire  front,  but  still  encountered  a  strong  resistance. 
During  the  night  of  the  24th  the  remaining  peak  of  Malga  Fos- 
setta, held  by  the  Austrians,  Fontana  Mosciar,  and  the  extremely 
important  Mandrielle  were  taken  by  storm,  while  the  Alpini 
on  the  right  made  themselves  masters  of  the  Cima  Zucadini  by 
the  22d. 

Henceforth  retreat  was  inevitable,  and  during  the  night  of 
the  25th  the  Italians  on  Monte  Fior,  seeing  that  the  Austrian 
resistance  had  greatly  diminished,  pushed  their  offensive  vigor- 
ously. Shortly  after  the  advance  was  begun  along  the  whole 
right.  Monte  Cengio,  which  had  received  an  infernal  bombard- 
ment for  three  days  and  nights,  fell  at  last,  and  the  advance 
proceeded  apace. 

On  June  26,  1916,  Italian  troops  in  the  Arsa  Valley  carried 
strong  trenches  at  Mattassone  and  Naghebeni,  completing  the 
occupation  of  Monte  Lemerle.  Along  the  Posina  front,  after 
driving  out  the  last  Austrian  detachments  from  the  southern 
slopes  of  the  mountain,  the  Italians  crossed  the  torrent  and 
occupied  Posina  and  Arsiero,  advancing  toward  the  northern 
slopes  of  the  valley. 

270  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau  Italian  infantry,  preceded  by 
cavalry  patrols,  reached  a  line  running  through  Punta  Corbin, 
Fresche,  Concafondi,  Cesuna,  southwest  of  Asiago,  and  passing 
northeast  of  the  Nosi  Valley,  and  occupied  Monte  Fiara,  Monte 
Lavarle,  Spitzkaserle  and  Cimasaette. 

On  the  right  wing  Alpine  troops,  after  a  fierce  combat,  carried 
Grolla  Caldiera  Peak  and  Campanella  Peak. 

The  inside  workings  of  the  Italian  armies  engaged  in  this 
offensive  movement  are  interestingly  pictured  in  the  following 
account  from  the  pen  of  the  special  correspondent  of  the  London 
"Times,"  who,  of  course,  had  special  opportunities  for  observa- 

"Thanks  to  the  courtesy  of  the  Italian  Government  and  higher 
command,  I  have  been  allowed  to  go  everywhere,  to  see  a  great 
deal  on  the  chief  sectors  of  a  400-mile  Alpine  border,  and  to 
study  the  administrative  services  on  the  lines  of  communication. 

"I  have  visited  the  wild  hills  of  the  upper  Isonzo,  have  in- 
spected the  strange  Carso  region  on  the  left  bank  of  the  river, 
and  have  continued  my  investigations  on  the  Isonzo  front  as 
far  as  Aquileia  and  the  sea.  I  have  threaded  beautiful  and  rug- 
ged Carnia  nearly  as  far  west  as  Monte  Croce,  have  ascended  the 
valley  of  the  But  to  Mount  Timau,  where  the  Austrians,  as  else- 
where, are  in  close  touch,  and,  passing  on  to  wonderful  Cadore, 
have  visited  the  haunts  of  the  Alpini  above  the  sources  of 
the  Tagliamento  and  Piave. 

"Coming  then  to  the  Trentino  sector,  I  have  traversed  the 
Sugana  Valley  as  far  as  was  practicable,  accompanied  the  army 
in  its  reconquest  of  Asiago  Plateau,  and  concluded  an  instructive 
•^our  by  ascending  the  mountains  which  dominate  Val  Lagarina 
to  the  point  of  contact  between  the  contending  armies. 

"The  rest  of  the  front,  from  the  Lago  di  Garda  to  the  Stelvio 
and  the  frontier  of  Switzerland,  is  not  at  present  the  scene  of 
important  operations,  so  I  contented  myself  by  ascertaining  at 
second  hand  how  matters  stand  between  the  Valtellina  and  the 

"I  have  had  the  honor  of  a  private  audience  with  his  Majesty 
the  King  of  Italy,  and  have  seen  and  talked  to  nearly  all  the  lead- 


ing  soldiers.  Nothing  could  exceed  the  kindness  with  which  I 
have  been  received,  and  my  grateful  thanks  are  due  especially 
to  Colonels  Count  Barbarich  and  Claricetti,  who  were  placed  at 
my  disposal  by  General  Cadorna  and  accompanied  me  during  my 

"It  is  necessary  for  those  who  wish  to  have  a  clear  under- 
standing of  Italy's  share  in  the  war  to  look  back  and  realize  the 
situation  of  our  Italian  friends  when,  at  the  most  critical  moment 
for  the  cause,  they  threw  the  weight  of  their  sword  into  the 

"Italy,  like  England,  had  lost  the  habit  of  considering  policy 
in  military  terms.  Home  politics  ruled  all  decisions.  The  army 
had  been  much  neglected,  and  the  campaign  in  Libya  had  left 
the  war  material  at  a  very  low  ebb.  United  Italy  had  not  yet 
fought  a  great  modern  campaign,  and  neither  the  army  nor  the 
navy  possessed  in  the  same  measure  as  other  powers  those  great 
traditions  which  are  the  outcome  of  many  recent  hard-fought 
wars.  Italy  was  without  our  coal  and  our  great  metallurgic 
industries.  She  did  not  possess  the  accumulation  of  resources 
which  we  were  able  to  turn  to  warlike  uses ;  nor  could  she  find 
in  her  over-sea  possessions,  as  we  did,  the  strength  and  vitality 
of  self-governing  younger  people  of  her  own  race.  The  old 
Sardinian  army  had  given  in  the  past  fine  proofs  of  valor,  but  it 
was  not  known  how  the  southern  Italians  would  fight,  and  it 
was  at  first  uncertain  whether  the  whole  country  would  throw 
itself  heart  and  soul  into  the  war. 

"These  impediments  to  rapid  decisions  and  the  extreme  diffi- 
culty of  breaking  with  an  old  alliance  explain  the  apparent 
hesitation  of  Italy  to  enter  the  war. 

"On  the  other  hand,  there  were  compensations.  The  heart  of 
Italy  was  always  with  the  Allies,  and  the  hatred  of  Austria  was 
very  deep.  There  was  every  hope  that  the  long-prevailing  sys- 
tem of  amalgamating  the  various  races  of  Italy  in  the  common 
army  would  at  last  bear  fruit,  and  that  this  amalgamation,  com- 
bined with  the  moral  and  material  progress  of  Italy  in  recent 
years,  and  the  pride  of  the  country  in  its  past  history,  would 
enable  Italy  to  play  an  honorable  and  notable  part  in  the  war 

R_War  St.  5 


THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 



by  land  and  sea,  and  to  wrest  from  her  hereditary  enemy  those 
portions  of  unredeemed  Italy  which  still  remained  in  Austrian 

"These  hopes  have  either  been  fulfilled  or  are  in  course  of  ful- 
fillment. United  Italy  is  unitedly  in  the  war,  and,  except  among 
a  few  political  busybodies,  who  intrigue  after  the  manner  of  their 
kind,  there  are  not  two  opinions  about  the  war.  There  are  many 
cases  of  mothers  compelling  their  sons  to  volunteer  and  other 
cases  of  fathers  insisting  upon  being  taken  because  their  sons  are 
at  the  front.  The  prefect  of  Friuli  told  me  that  nearly  all  the 
24,000  men  in  his  province  who  were  absent  abroad  when  the 
war  broke  out  returned  home  to  fight  before  they  were  recalled. 
The  south  and  the  island  areas  warm  for  war  as  the  north,  and 
the  regiments  of  Naples  and  of  Sicily  have  done  very  well  indeed 
in  the  field.  Some  people  think  that  Piedmont  is  not  quite  so 
enthusiastic  as  other  parts  of  Italy,  because  she  flags  her  streets 
rather  less,  but  I  do  not  think  that  there  is  any  real  difference 
of  feeling.  In  all  the  capitals  of  the  Allies  the  political  climate 
has  been  a  trifle  unhealthy,  and  of  Rome  it  has  been  said  that 
the  old  families  of  the  Blacks  have  not  taken  a  leading  part  in  the 
campaign.  My  inquiries  make  me  doubt  the  accuracy  of  this 
statement,  and  I  think  on  the  whole  it  will  be  found  that,  despite 
the  old  and  persistent  divergence  of  opinion  on  certain  topics,  all 
ranks  and  all  classes  are  heartily  for  the  war,  and  that  an 
enemy  who  counts  on  assistance  from  within  Italy  will  be  griev- 
ously disappointed. 

"Italy  is  fortunate  in  having  at  her  head,  at  this  critical  hour 
of  her  destinies,  a  king  who  is  a  soldier  born  and  bred. 

"It  is  a  common  saying  here  that  the  King  of  Italy  is  homesick 
when  he  is  absent  from  the  army,  and  it  is  certain  that  his 
majesty  spends  every  hour  that  he  can  spare  from  state  affairs 
vdth  his  troops.  He  wears  on  his  breast  the  medal  ribbon,  only 
given  to  those  who  have  been  at  the  front  for  a  year,  and,  though 
he  deprecates  any  allusion  to  the  fact,  it  is  true  that  he  is  con- 
stantly in  the  firing  line,  has  had  many  narrow  escapes,  and  is 
personally  known  to  the  whole  army,  who  love  to  see  him  in  their 

274  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

"I  have  not  found  any  officer  of  his  army  who  has  a  better,  a 
more  intimate,  or  a  more  accurate  knowledge  of  his  troops  than 
the  king.  His  attention  to  the  wants  of  the  army  is  abso- 
lutely untiring,  and  I  fancy  that  his  cool  judgment  and  large 
experience  must  often  be  of  great  service  to  his  ministers  and  his 

"I  do  not  know  whether  the  field  headquarters  of  the  King  of 
Italy  or  of  King  Albert  of  Belgium  is  the  most  unpretentious,  but 
certainly  both  monarchs  live  in  circumstances  of  extreme  sim- 
plicity. My  recollection  is  that  when  I  last  had  the  honor  of 
visiting  King  Albert's  headquarters,  the  bell  in  what  I  must 
call  the  parlor  did  not  ring,  and  the  queen  of  the  Belgians  had 
to  get  up  and  fetch  the  tea  herself. 

'When  I  had  the  honor  of  being  received  by  the  King  of  Italy 
I  found  his  majesty  in  a  little  villa  which  only  held  four  people, 
and  the  king  was  working  in  a  room  of  which  the  only  furniture 
which  I  can  recall  consisted  of  a  camp  bed  close  to  the  ground 
and  of  exiguous  breadth,  a  small  table,-  and  two  chairs  of  un- 
compromising hardness.  The  only  ornament  in  the  room  was 
the  base  of  the  last  Austrian  shell  which  had  burst  just  above 
the  king's  head  and  has  been  mounted  as  a  souvenir  by  the  queen. 

"When  a  prince  of  the  House  of  Savoy  lives  in  the  traditions 
of  his  family,  and  shares  all  the  hardships  of  his  troops,  it  needs 
must  that  his  people  follow  him.    And  so  they  do. 

"The  hardy  Alpini  from  the  frontiers,  the  stout  soldiers  of 
Piedmont,  the  well-to-do  peasantry  of  Venetia,  the  Sardinians, 
who  are  ever  to  the  front  when  there  is  fighting  to  be  enjoyed, 
the  Tuscans,  Calabrians,  and  those  Sicilians  once  so  famous 
amongst  the  legionaries,  are  all  here  or  at  the  depots  training 
for  war.  Mobilization  must  have  affected  two  and  a  half  million 
Italians  at  least.  There  have  been  fairly  heavy  losses,  and 
fighting  of  one  kind  or  another  is  going  on  in  every  sector  that 
I  have  visited,  and  every  day,  despite  the  great  hardships  of 
fighting  on  the  Alpine  frontier,  the  moral  of  the  army  remains 
good,  the  men  are  in  splendid  health,  and  Italy  as  a  whole 
remains  gay  and  confident,  less  affected  on  the  whole  by  the 
war  than  any  other  member  of  the  grand  alliance. 


"There  are  certainly  more  able-bodied  men  of  military  age  out 
of  uniform  in  Italy  than  there  are  in  France,  or  than  there  are 
now  with  us.  Except  volunteers,  no  men  under  twenty  are  at 
the  front.  There  are  large  reserves  still  available  upon  which 
to  draw.  The  army  has  been  more  than  doubled  since  the  war 

"The  Italian  regular  officers,  and  the  officers  of  reserve,  are 
quite  excellent.  The  spirit  of  good  comradeship  which  prevails 
in  the  army  is  most  admirable,  and  the  corps  of  officers  reminds 
me  of  a  large  family  which  is  proverbially  a  happy  one.  Those 
foreign  observers  who  have  seen  much  of  the  Italian  officers 
under  fire  tell  me  that  they  have  always  led  their  men  with 
superb  valor  and  determination,  while,  though  Italy  has  not 
such  a  professional  body  of  N.  C.  O.'s  as  Germany,  I  believe 
that  most  of  these  men  are  capable  of  leading  when  their  officers 

"But  there  are  not  enough  of  good  professional  officers  and 
N.  C.  0.*s  to  admit  for  the  moment  of  a  considerable  further 
expansion  of  the  army.  Existing  formations  can  be,  and  are 
being,  well  maintained,  and  this  is  what  matters  most  for  the 

"The  peasant  in  certain  parts  of  Italy  rarely  eats  meat.  In 
the  army  he  gets  300  to  350  grams  a  day,  according  to  the 
season,  not  to  speak  of  a  kilogram  of  good  bread  and  plenty 
of  vegetables,  besides  wine  and  tobacco.  He  is  having  the  time 
of  his  life,  and  if,  as  cynics  say,  peace  will  break  up  many  happy 
homes  in  England,  peace  in  Italy  will  certainly  make  some 
peasants  less  joyful  than  before." 

276  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 



BETWEEN  the  Adige  and  the  Brenta  the  retreating  Austro- 
Hungarian  forces  had  now  reached  strongly  fortified  and 
commanding  positions  which  considerably  increased  their  power 
of  resistance.  The  Italians,  however,  continued,  even  if  at  re- 
duced speed,  to  make  progress.  On  June  27,  1916,  they  shelled 
Austrian  positions  on  Monte  Trappola  and  Monte  Testo  and 
took  trenches  near  Malga  Zugna.  Between  the  Posina  and  the 
Astico  they  took  Austrian  positions  on  Monte  Gamonda,  north 
of  Fusine,  and  Monte  Caviojo.  Cavalry  detachments  reached 
Pedescala  (in  the  Astico  Valley,  about  three  miles  north  of 
Arsiero) . 

On  the  Asiago  Plateau  other  Italian  forces  occupied  the  south- 
ern side  of  the  Assa  Valley  and  reached  the  slopes  of  Monte 
Rasta,  Monte  Interrotto  and  Monte  Mosciagh,  which  were  held 
strongly  by  the  Austrian  rear  guards.  Further  north,  after 
carrying  Monte  Colombara,  Italian  troops  began  to  approach 
Calamara  Valley. 

•On  June  28,  1916,  the  Vallarsa  Alpine  troops  stormed  the  fort 
of  Mattassone,  and  detachments  of  infantry  carried  the  ridge 
of  Monte  Trappola.  On  the  Pasubio  sector  Italian  troops  took 
some  trenches  near  Malga  Comagnon.  Along  the  Posina  line 
their  advance  was  delayed  by  the  fire  of  heavy  batteries  from 
the  Borcola. 

In  the  Astico  Valley  they  occupied  Pedescala.  On  the  Sette 
Comuni  Plateau  the  Austrians  strengthened  the  northern  side 
of  the  Assa  Valley  Heights  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Galmarara 
to  the  Agnella  Pass.  The  Italians  established  themselves  on  the 
southern  side  of  the  Assa  Valley  and  gained  possession  of 
trenches  near  Zebio  and  Zingarella. 

The  following  day,  June  29,  1916,  the  Itahan  line  in  the  region 
between  the  Val  Lagarina  and  the  Val  Sugana  was  pushed  for- 



ward  still  further  until  it  reached  the  main  Austrian  line  of 
resistance.  The  Italians  occupied  the  Valmorbia  line,  in  the 
Valkrsa,  the  southern  slopes  of  Monte  Spil,  and  began  an  of- 
fensive to  the  northwest  of  Pasubio,  in  the  Cosmagnon  region. 

Farther  east  on  the  line  of  the  Posina  Valley,  the  Italians 
took  Monte  Maggio,  the  town  of  Griso,  northwest  of  Monte 
Maggio;  positions  in  the  Zara  Valley  and  Monte  Scatolari  and 
Sogliblanchi.  Monte  Civaron  and  the  Zellonkofel,  in  the  Su- 
gana  Valley,  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Italians. 

The  Italians  continued  their  advance  along  the  Posina  front 
on  June  30,  1916,  despite  the  violent  fire  of  numerous  Austro- 
Hungarian  batteries  dominating  Borcola  Pass,  and  also  Monte 
Maggio  and  Monte  Toraro.  Italian  infantry  occupied  Zarolli 
in  the  Vallarsa,  north  of  Mattassone.  On  the  left  wing,  over- 
coming stubborn  resistance,  Italian  troops  scaled  the  crest  of 
Monte  Cosmagnon,  whose  northerly  ridges  they  shelled  to  drive 
out  the  enemy  hidden  among  the  rocks.  On  the  Sette  Comuni 
Plateau  they  kept  in  close  contact  with  Austrian  positions.  Con- 
flicts  in  the  densely  wooded  and  rocky  ground  were  carried  on 
chiefly  by  hand  grenades. 

Between  the  Adige  and  the  Brenta  the  Italians  continued 
their  offensive  vigorously  on  July  1,  1916.  In  the  Vallarsa  in- 
fantry began  an  attack  on  the  lines  strongly  held  by  the  Aus- 
trians  between  Zugna  Torta  and  Foppiano. 

Italian  artillery  shelled  Fort  Pozzacchio.  On  Monte  Pasubio 
the  Austrians  were  offering  stubborn  resistance  from  their  for- 
tified positions  between  Monte  Spil  and  Monte  Cosmagnon. 

Along  the  Posina-Astico  line  Italian  forces  completed  the 
conquest  of  Monte  Maggio  and  occupied  the  southern  side  of 
Monte  Seluggio.  On  the  Asiago  Plateau  there  were  skirmishes 
on  the  northern  side  of  the  Assa  Valley. 

On  July  2,  1916,  in  the  region  of  the  Adige  Valley,  the  Aus- 
trians directed  a  heavy  bombardment  against  the  Italian  posi- 
tions from  Serravalle,  north  of  Coni  Zugna  to  Monte  Pasubio. 
Some  shells  fell  on  Ala.  Italian  artillery  replied  effectively.  The 
infantry  fighting  on  the  northern  slopes  of  Pasubio  was  con- 
tinued with  great  violence.    In  the  Posina  Valley  Italian  troops 

278  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

occupied  the  spur  to  the  northwest  of  Monte  Pruche,  Molino,  in 
the  Zara  Valley  (northwest  of  Laghi),  and  Scatolari,  in  the  Rio 
Freddo  Valley.  The  operations  against  Como  del  Coston,  Monte 
Seluggio,  and  Monte  Cimono  (northwest  and  north  of  Arsiero), 
the  main  points  of  Austrian  resistance,  were  continued. 

On  the  Asiago  Plateau  Italian  detachments  were  pushed  for- 
ward beyond  the  northern  edge  of  Assa  Valley.  On  the  re- 
mainder of  this  sector  there  was  a  lull  in  the  fighting,  preparatory 
to  further  attacks  on  the  difficult  ground.  In  the  Brenta  Valley 
small  encounters  took  place  on  the  slopes  of  Monte  Civaron  north 
of  Caldiera. 

Monte  Calgari,  in  the  Posina  Valley,  was  occupied  by  the 
Italians  on  July  3,  1916,  while  other  detachments  completed  the 
occupation  of  the  northern  edge  of  the  Assa  Valley  on  the  Asiago 

Between  the  Adige  and  the  Brenta  the  Austrians  on  July  4, 
1916,  contested  with  great  determination  the  Italian  advance  and 
attempted  to  counterattack  at  various  points. 

After  several  attempts,  Alpine  troops  reached  the  summit  of 
Monte  Como,  northwest  of  the  Pasubio. 

In  the  upper  Astico  Basin  they  captured  the  crest  of  Monte 
Seluggio  and  advanced  toward  Rio  Freddo. 

Between  the  Lagarina  and  Sugana  Valleys  the  Italian  of- 
fensive was  continued  on  July  5,  1916.  In  the  Adige  Valley 
and  in  the  upper  Astico  Basin  pressure  compelled  the  Austrians 
to  withdraw,  uncovering  new  batteries  on  comimanding  posi- 
tions previously  prepared  by  them. 

On  the  Asiago  Plateau  Italian  artillery  bombarded  the  Aus- 
trian lines  actively.  In  the  Campelle  Valley  the  Austrians  evac- 
uated the  positions  they  still  held  on  the  Prima  Lunetta,  aban- 
doning arms,  ammunitions  and  supplies. 

The  following  day  brought  some  new  successes  to  the  Italians 
on  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau.  With  the  support  of  their  ar- 
tillery they  renewed  their  attack  on  the  strongly  fortified  line 
of  the  Austrians  from  Monte  Interrotto  to  Monte  Campigoletto 
and  captured  two  important  points  of  the  Austrian  defenses, 
near  Casera,  Zebio  and  Malga  Pozza,  taking  359  prisoners,  in- 


eluding  5  officers  and  3  machine  guns.  Between  the  Adige 
and  the  Astico,  north  of  the  Posino  and  along  the  Rio  Freddo 
and  Astico  Valleys  there  was  intense  artillery  activity,  es- 
pecially in  the  region  of  Monte  Maggio  and  Monte  Camone. 
The  same  condition  continued  throughout  July  7,  1916. 

On  July  8,  1916,  Italian  infantry  advanced  on  the  upper  Astico 
in  the  Molino  Basin  and  toward  Fomi.  Dense  mist  prevented 
all  activity  of  artillery  on  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau.  In  the 
northern  sector  the  Italians  stormed  some  trenches  north  of 
Monte  Chiesa,  and  occupied  Agnella  Pass. 

A  great  deal  of  the  fighting,  both  during  the  Austro-Hungarian 
offensive  in  the  Trentino  and  the  Italian  counteroffensive,  took 
place  in  territory  abounding  with  lofty  mountain  peaks.  Though 
it  was  now  midsummer,  these  were,  of  course,  covered  with 
eternal  snow  and  ice.  Austrians  and  Italians  alike  faced  dif- 
ficulties and  hardships,  the  solution  and  endurance  of  which 
would  have  seemed  utterly  impossible  a  few  years  ago  until 
the  Great  War  swept  away  many  long-established  military  and 
engineering  maxims.  An  intimate  picture  of  this  new  mode 
of  warfare  was  given  by  a  special  correspondent  of  the  London 
"Daily  Mail*'  who,  in  part,  says : 

"The  villages  in  the  lower  ground  behind  the  front  have  been 
aroused  from  their  accustomed  appearance  of  sleepy  comfort. 
In  their  streets  are  swarms  of  soldiers  on  their  way  to  the 
front  or  back  from  it  for  a  holiday.  Thousands  are  camping 
out  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  villages  or  billeted  on  the  inhabit- 
ants. Constant  streams  of  motor  vehicles  rumble  through  the 
villages  on  their  way  up  the  steep  road,  bearing  ammunition, 
food  and  supplies  of  all  sorts,  to  the  batteries,  trenches  and 
dugouts  on  the  peaks. 

The  road  over  which  these  vehicles  travel  was  before  the  war 
a  mere  hill  path — ^now  the  military  engineers  have  transformed 
it  into  a  modern  road,  graded,  metaled  and  carried  by  cunningly 
devised  spirals  and  turns  three-quarters  of  the  way  up  the  moun- 

"It  is  a  notable  piece  of  miHtary  engineering,  but  it  is  not 
merely  that.     It  will  serve  as  an  artery  of  commerce  when  it 

280  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

is  no  longer  needed  for  the  passage  of  guns  and  army  service 
wagons.  There  is  nothing  temporary  or  makeshift  about  it. 
Rocks  have  been  blasted  to  leave  a  passage  for  it  and  solid 
bridges  of  stone  and  steel  thrown  across  rivers. 

"Because  the  Austrians  started  with  the  weather  gauge  in 
their  favor,  being  on  the  upper  side  of  the  great  ridges,  it  was 
necessary  for  the  Italians  to  get  their  guns  as  high  as  they  could. 
The  means  by  which  they  accomplished  this  task  was  de- 
scribed to  me.  They  would  seem  incredible  if  one  had  not  ocular 
demonstration  of  the  actual  presence  of  the  cannon  among  these 
inaccessible  crags. 

"There  are  some  of  them  on  the  ice  ledges  of  the  Ortler  nearly 
10,000  feet  above  sea  level,  in  places  which  it  is  by  way  of  an 
achievement  for  the  amateur  climber  to  reach  with  guides  and 
ropes  and  porters,  and  nothing  to  take  care  of  but  his  own  skin. 
But  here  the  Alpini  and  Frontier  Guides  had  to  bring  up  the 
heavy  pieces,  hauling  them  over  the  snow  slopes  and  swinging 
them  in  midair  across  chasms  and  up  knife-edged  precipices, 
by  ropes  passed  over  timbers  wedged  somehow  into  the  rocks. 
I  was  shown  a  photograph  of  a  party  of  these  pioneers  working 
in  these  snowy  solitudes  last  winter.  They  might  have  been  a 
group  of  Scott's  or  Shackleton's  men  toiling  in  the  Antarctic 

"By  means  of  a  suspension  railway  made  of  wire  rope  with 
sliding  baskets  stretched  across  chasms  of  great  depth,  oil,  meat, 
bread  and  wine  are  sent  up,  for  the  soldier  must  not  only  be 
fed,  but  must  be  fed  with  particular  food  to  keep  the  blood  cir- 
culating in  his  body  in  the  cold  air  and  chilling  breezes  of  the 
snow-clad  peaks.  Kerosene  stoves  in  great  numbers  have  been 
sent  aloft  to  make  the  life  of  the  mountaineer  soldiers  more  com- 

On  July  9,  1916,  there  was  bitter  fighting  between  the  Brenta 
and  the  Adige.  Strong  Alpine  forces  repeatedly  attacked  the 
Austrian  lines  southeast  of  Cima  Dieci,  but  were  repulsed  with 
heavy  losses.  Shells  set  fire  to  Pedescala  and  other  places  in 
the  upper  Astico  Valley.  An  attempt  by  the  Austrians  to  make 
attacks  on  Monte  Seluggio  was  checked  promptly. 


In  the  Adige  Valley  another  intense  artillery  duel  was  staged 
on  July  10,  1916.  On  the  Pasubio  front  the  Italians  captured 
positions  north  of  Monte  Corno,  but  the  Austrians  succeeded  in 
obtaining  partial  repossession  of  them  by  a  violent  counterat- 
tack. On  the  Asiago  Plateau  Alpine  detachments  successfully 
renewed  the  attack  on  the  Austrian  positions  in  the  Monte  Chiesa 

The  next  day,  July  11,  1916,  the  Italians  again  made  some 
progress  in  the  Adige  Valley,  north  of  Serravalle  and  in  the 
region  of  Malga  Zugna,  and  reoccupied  partially  some  of  the  posi- 
tions lost  on  the  northern  slopes  of  Monte  Pasubio  on  the  pre- 
vious day.  Heavy  artillery  duels  took  place  in  the  Asiago  Basin 
and  on  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau. 

The  Austrians  promptly  responded  on  July  12,  1916,  by  at- 
tacking in  the  Adige  Valley,  after  artillery  preparation  on  an 
immense  scale,  the  new  Italian  positions  north  of  Malga  Zugna. 
They  were  driven  back  in  disorder,  with  heavy  loss,  by  the 
prompt  and  effective  concentration  of  the  Italian  gunfire. 

Fighting  in  the  Adige  Valley  and  on  the  Sette  Comuni  Pla- 
teau continued  without  cessation  during  the  next  few  days 
without  yielding  any  very  definite  results.  In  that  period  there 
also  developed  extremely  severe  fighting  at  the  head  of  the  Posina 
Valley.  During  the  night  of  July  13,  1916,  the  Italians  succeeded 
in  carrying  very  strong  Austrian  positions  south  of  Corno  del 
Coston  and  east  of  the  Borcola  Pass,  notwithstanding  the  strong 
resistance  of  the  Austrians  and  the  difficulty  presented  by  the 
roughness  of  the  ground.  During  the  night  the  Austrians 
launched  several  violent  but  unsuccessful  counterattacks  in  which 
they  lost  heavily. 

In  spite  of  violent  thunderstorms,  seriously  interfering  with 
artillery  activity,  fighting  continued  in  this  sector  on  July  14 
and  15,  1916.  Italian  troops  made  some  progress  on  the  south- 
ern slopes  of  Sogli  Bianchi,  south  of  Borcola  and  the  Corno  di 
Coston  and  in  the  Boin  Valley,  where  they  occupied  Vanzi  on 
the  northern  slopes  of  Monte  Hellugio. 

Austrian  reenforcements  arrived  at  this  time,  and  as  a  result 
a  series  of  heavy  attacks  was  delivered  in  the  upper  Posina 

282  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

area  in  an  attempt  to  stop  the  Italian  advance  between  Monte 
Santo  and  Monte  Toraro.  Italian  counterattacks,  however,  were 
launched  promptly  and  enabled  the  Italian  forces  to  maintain 
and  extend  their  lines.  Throughout  the  balance  of  July,  1916, 
the  Italian  troops  succeeded  in  continuing  their  advance,  al- 
though the  Austro-Hungarian  resistance  showed  no  noticeable 
abatement  and  frequently  was  strong  enough  to  permit  not  only 
very  effective  defensive  work,  but  rather  considerable  counter- 
attacks. However,  all  in  all,  the  Italians  had  decidedly  the  better 
of  it.  Step  by  step  they  pushed  their  way  back  into  the  ter- 
ritory from  which  the  Austro-Hungarian  offensive  of  a  few 
weeks  ago  had  driven  them. 

On  July  18,  1916,  the  Italians  gained  some  new  positions 
on  the  rocky  slopes  of  the  Como  del  Coston  in  the  upper 
Posina  Valley.  Four  days  later,  July  22,  1916,  they  captured 
some  trenches  on  Monte  Zebio  on  the  Sette  Comuni  Plateau. 
The  next  day,  July  23,  1916,  between  Cismon  and  Aviso  they 
completed  the  occupation  of  the  upper  Trevignolo  and  St.  Pel- 
legrino  Valleys,  taking  the  summit  of  Monte  Stradone  and  new 
positions  on  the  slopes  of  Cima  di  Bocche. 

On  the  Posina-Astico  line  at  daybreak  of  July  24,  1916,  after 
a  fierce  attack  by  night,  they  captured  Monte  Cimone,  for  the 
possession  of  which  violent  fighting  had  been  in  progress  for 

Further  north,  Alpine  troops  renewed  their  efforts  against  the 
steep  rock  barrier  rising  to  more  than  2,000  yards  between  the 
peaks  of  Monte  Chiesa  and  Monte  Campigoletto.  Under  heavy 
fire  from  the  Austrian  machine  guns  they  crossed  three  Hnes  of 
wire  and  succeeded  in  establishing  themselves  just  below  the 

Again  and  again  the  Austrians  launched  attacks  against  the 
Italian  positions  on  these  various  mountains  without,  however, 
accomplishing  more  than  retarding  the  further  advance  of  Gen- 
eral Cadorna's  forces*-: 

The  second  anniversary  of  the  outbreak  of  the  Great  War, 
August  1,  1916,  found  the  Italians  on  the  Trentino  front  still 
strongly  on  the  offensive  and  well  on  their  way  toward  regaining 


all  of  the  ground  which  they  had  lost  in  June  and  July,  1916, 
before  the  Austro-Hungarian  offensive  had  been  brought  to  a 
standstill,  while  the  Austrians  were  yielding  only  under  the  force 
of  the  greatest  pressure  which  their  opponents  could  bring  to 
bear  on  them. 



JUST  as  soon  as  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces  began  to  con- 
centrate their  activities  in  the  latter  part  of  May,  1916,  on 
their  drive  in  the  Trentino,  military  operations  in  the  other  sec- 
tors of  the  Austro-Italian  front  lost  in  importance  and  strength. 
During  the  greatest  part  of  both  the  Austro-Hungarian  drive 
and  the  Italian  counteroffensive  in  the  Trentino — May  to  July, 
1916 — operations  along  the  rest  of  the  Austro-Italian  front — on 
the  northwestern  frontier,  of  Tyrol,  along  the  Boite  River  in  the 
northeastern  Dolomites,  in  the  Camic  and  Julian  Alps,  and  on 
the  Isonzo  front — were  practically  restricted  to  artillery  duels. 
Only  occasional,  and  then  but  very  local  infantry  engagements 
took  place,  none  of  which  had  any  particular  influence  on  general 
conditions  in  these  various  sectors.  However,  as  the  Italian 
counteroffensive  in  the  Trentino  progressed,  there  developed 
from  time  to  time  minor  operations  along  the  other  parts  of  the 
front.  Quite  a  number  of  these  were  initiated  by  the  Austro- 
Hungarians,  undoubtedly  in  the  hopes  that  they  might  thereby 
reduce  the  Italian  pressure  on  their  newly  gained  successes  in 
the  Trentino.  Others  found  their  origin  on  the  Italian  side,  which 
at  all  times  attempted  to  avail  itself  of  every  opportunity  to  ex- 
tend and  strengthen  its  positions  anywhere  along  the  front.  And 
as  the  Austrian  resistance  against  the  Italian  counteroffensive 
stiffened  and  showed  no  signs  of  abatement.  General  Cadoma, 
in  undertaking  operations  in  other  sectors  of  the  front  than  the 
Trentino,  was  undoubtedly  influenced  by  motives  similar  to  those 
guiding  his  opponents.  He,  too,  hoped  to  impress  his  adversary 

284  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

sufficiently  by  minor  operations  in  sectors  unconnected  with  the 
Trentino,  to  reduce  their  strength  there. 

Considerable  light  is  thrown  upon  the  organization  of  the  Ital- 
ian army,  which  made  it  possible  to  carry  on  successfully  these 
operations,  in  the  following  article  from  the  pen  of  the  special 
correspondent  of  the  London  "Times'* : 

"I  have  been  allowed  to  visit  the  offices  of  the  general  staff  at 
army  headquarters  and  those  of  the  administrative  services  at 
another  point  within  the  war  zone.  This  is  not  a  favorable  mo- 
ment for  describing  how  the  army  machinery  works;  but  there 
is  no  harm  done  in  saying  that  all  these  services  appear  to  run 
smoothly,  have  good  men  at  their  head,  and  produce  good  re- 

"I  was  particularly  struck  by  the  maps  turned  out.  They  do 
great  credit  to  the  Military  Geographical  Institute  at  Florence, 
and  to  the  officers  at  headquarters  who  revise  the  maps  as  new 
information  pours  in.  All  the  frontiers  have  been  well  surveyed 
and  mapped  on  scales  of  1:25,000,  1:50,000,  1:100,000,  and  1:- 
200,000.  These  maps  are  very  clear  and  good.  I  like  best  the  1  :- 
100,000,  which  is  issued  to  all  officers,  and  on  which  operation 
orders  are  based.  The  photographs  are  also  very  fine,  and  the 
panoramas  excellent,  while  the  airmen's  photographs,  and  the 
plans  compiled  from  them,  are  quite  in  the  front  rank. 

"The  service  of  information  at  headquarters  also  appears  to 
me  to  be  good.  There  are  more  constant  changes  in  all  the  Ital- 
ian staffs  than  we  should  consider  desirable,  and  officers  pass 
very  rapidly  from  one  employment  to  another,  but  in  spite  of 
this  practice  the  information  is  well  kept  up,  and  the  knowledge 
of  the  enemy's  dispositions  is  up  to  standard,  considering  the 
extraordinary  difficulty  of  following  the  really  quite  chaotic 
organization  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  forces. 

"I  am  not  sure  that  I  like  very  much  the  liaison  system  in 
Italy.  The  comparatively  young  officers  intrusted  with  it  report 
direct  to  army  headquarters,  and  on  their  reports  the  communi- 
ques are  usually  based.  These  officers  remind  us  of  the  missi 
dominici  of  the  great  Moltke,  but  on  the  whole  I  confess  that  the 
system  does  not  appeal  to  me  very  much. 


"All  the  rearward  services  of  the  army  are  united  under  the 
control  of  the  intendant  general,  who  is  a  big  personage  in  Italy. 
He  deals  with  movements,  quarterings,  railways,  supply,  muni* 
tions  in  transit,  and,  in  fact,  everything  except  drafts  and  avia- 
tion, both  of  which  services  come  under  the  general  staff.  There 
is  a  representative  of  the  intendant  general  in  each  army  and 
army  corps.  An  order  of  movement  is  repeated  to  the  intendant 
general  by  telephone  and  he  arranges  for  transport,  food,  and 

"The  means  of  transport  include  the  railways,  motor  lorries, 
carts,  pack  mules,  and  porters.  The  railways  have  done  well. 
They  had  5,000  locomotives  and  160,000  carriages  available  when 
war  broke  out,  and  on  the  two  lines  running  through  Venetia, 
they  managed  during  the  period  of  concentration  to  clear  120 
trains  a  day.  Between  last  May  17  and  June  22,  1916,  for  the 
purposes  of  General  Cadorna*s  operations  in  the  Trentino,  the 
railways  carried  18,000  officers,  522,000  men,  about  70,000  ani- 
mals, and  16,000  vehicles,  with  nearly  900  guns.  These  figures 
have  been  given  by  the  Italian  press,  so  there  is  no  harm  done  by 
alluding  to  them.  The  railway  material  is  much  better  than  I 
expected  it  to  be,  but  coal  is  very  dear. 

"The  motor  lorries  work  well.  There  are  three  types  in  use— 
the  heavy  commercial  cars,  the  middleweight  lorries,  which 
carry  over  a  couple  of  tons,  and  the  lightweights,  taking  about 
one  and  a  half  tons.  These  lorries  form  an  army  service.  Each 
army  park  has  a  group  of  lorries  for  each  army  corps  forming 
part  of  the  army,  and  each  group  has  two  sections  for  each  di- 
vision. The  motor  cars  of  the  commanders  and  staffs  are  good. 
I  traveled  several  thousand  miles  in  them,  and  having  covered 
300  miles  one  day  and  350  another,  am  prepared  to  give  a  good 
mark  to  Italian  motor-car  manufacturers,  and  also  to  Italian 
roads  and  Italian  chauffeurs. 

"I  may  also  point  out  that  the  army  has  hitherto  administered 
the  Austrian  districts  which  have  been  occupied  on  various  parts 
of  the  front,  and  has  had  to  deal  with  agriculture,  roads,  births, 
deaths,  marriages,  police,  and  a  great  many  other  civil  matters. 
As  I  had  once  seen  a  French  corps  of  cavalry  farming  nearly 

286  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

5,000  acres  of  land  I  was  prepared  to  see  the  Italian  army  capable 
of  following  suit;  but  I  fancy  that  if  Signor  Bissolati  is  to  take 
over  all  these  civil  duties  General  Porro  will  be  far  from  dis- 

"There  is  the  little  matter  of  the  4,000  ladies  who  remain  at 
Cortina  d'Ampezzo  while  their  men  are  away  fighting  in  the 
Austrian  ranks,  and  there  are  such  questions  as  those  of  the 
Aquileia  treasures,  which  have  fortunately  been  preserved  in- 
tact. I  must  confess  that  it  is  a  novelty  and  a  pleasure  to  enter 
an  enemy's  territory  and  sit  down  in  a  room  marked  Militdr 
Wachtzimmer,  with  all  the  enemy's  emblems  on  the  walls,  but 
on  the  whole  I  liked  best  the  advice  evitare  di  fumare  esplosioni 
painted  by  some  Italian  wag  on  an  Austrian  guardhouse,  and 
possibly  intended  as  a  hint  to  Austro-German  diplomacy  in  the 

^'The  Italians  regard  Austria  as  we  regard  Germany,  and  Ger- 
many as  we  regard  Austria.  Austria  is  the  enemy,  but  at  the 
same  time,  while  every,  crime  is  attributed  to  Austria  on  slight 
suspicion,  I  find  no  unworthy  depreciation  of  Austrian  soldiers. 
I  am  told  that  while  Austrian  discipline  is  very  severe,  and  the 
officer's  revolver  is  ever  quick  to  maintain  it,  the  Austrian  pri- 
vate soldier  has  a  sense  of  deep  loyalty  toward  his  emperor,  and 
that  this  is  a  personal  devotion  which  will  not  easily  be  trans- 
ferred to  a  successor.  In  meeting  the  Kaiserjager  so  often  the 
Italians  perhaps  see  Austria's  best,  but  the  fact  remains  that  the 
Italian  has  a  good  word  for  the  Austrian  as  a  soldier,  and  that 
I  did  not  see  many  signs  of  such  willful  and  shameless  vandalism 
by  the  Austrians  as  has  disgraced  the  name  of  Germany  in  Bel- 
gium and  in  France.  Even  towns  which  are  or  have  been  between 
the  contending  armies  have  not,  I  think,  been  willfully  destroyed, 
but  they  have  naturally  suffered  when  one  army  or  the  other  has 
used  the  town  as  a  pivot  of  defense. 

"The  officers  who  have  to  keep  the  tally  of  the  Austrian 
forces  and  to  locate  all  the  divisions  have  my  deepest  sympathy. 
Long  ago  the  Austrian  army  corps  ceased  to  contain  the  old  di- 
visions of  peace  times,  but  one  now  finds  army  corps  with  as 
many  as  four  divisions,  while  the  division  may  be  composed  of 


anything  from  two  to  eight  battalions.  A  certain  number  of  the 
divisions  reckoned  to  be  against  the  Italians  on  the  whole  front 
are  composed  of  dubious  elements,  and  there  are  some  sixty  Aus- 
trian battalions  of  rifle  clubmen. 

"The  Austrians  shift  regiments  about  in  such  apparently  hap- 
hazard fashion  that  it  is  hard  to  keep  track  of  them.  They  may 
take  half  a  dozen  battalions  from  different  regiments  and  call  it 
a  mountain  group.  In  a  week  or  two  they  will  break  it  up  and 
distribute  the  battalions  elsewhere.  They  usually  follow  up  their 
infantry  with  so-called  march  battalions,  but  whether  these  bat^ 
talions  are  100  or  1,000  strong  seems  quite  uncertain.  Some 
surprise  occurs  elsewhere,  and  away  go  some  of  the  march  bat- 
talions. They  may  lose  prisoners,  say,  on  the  Russian  front,  and 
the  Russians  naturally  believe  that  the  regiment  and  the  division 
to  which  the  regiment  belongs  are  all  on  the  Russian  front, 
whereas  only  one  weak  battalion  of  drafts  may  be  there  and  all 
the  rest  may  still  be  against  the  Italians.  The  Austrians  also 
take  a  number  of  regiments  from  a  division  and  send  them 
elsewhere,  leaving  a  mere  skeleton  of  the  divisional  command 

"For  these  reasons  one  must  regard  with  a  good  deal  of  scep- 
ticism any  estimate  which  professes  to  give  an  accurate  distribu- 
tion list  of  the  Austrian  army.  Also  it  is  difficult  to  believe  that 
any  real  esprit  de  corps  can  remain  when  such  practices  are 
common,  and  we  are  reduced  to  the  belief  that  the  only  real 
soldier  of  the  army  is  the  personal  devotion  to  the  emperor  of 
which  I  have  already  written. 

"I  could  not  find  time  to  study  the  Italian  air  service,  but 
foreign  officers  with  the  army  speak  well  of  it.  The  Austrian 
airmen  deserve  praise.  They  watched  us  daily  and  bombed  with 
pleasing  regularity. 

"My  view  of  the  war  on  the  Italian  front  is  that  Italy  is  in  it 
with  her  whole  heart,  and  has  both  the  will  and  the  means  to 
exercise  increasing  pressure  on  Austria,  whom  she  is  subjecting 
to  a  serious  strain  along  400  miles  of  difficult  country.  I  think 
that  few  people  in  England  appreciate  the  special  and  serious 
difficulties  which  confront  both  combatants  along  the  Alpine 

S— War  St.  5 

288  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

borderland,  and  especially  Italy,  because  she  has  to  attack.  The 
Italian  army  is  strong  in  numbers,  ably  commanded,  well  pro- 
vided, and  animated  by  an  excellent  spirit.  As  this  army  be- 
comes more  inured  to  war,  and  traditions  of  victory  on  hard- 
fought  fields  become  established,  the  military  value  of  the  army 
is  enhanced. 

"As  I  think  over  the  Italian  exploits  during  the  war,  I  re- 
member that  the  men  of  Alps,  of  Piedmont  and  Lombardy,  of 
Venetia,  and  Tuscany,  of  Rome,  Naples,  Sardinia,  and  Sicily 
have  one  and  all  contributed  something  to  the  record,  and  have 
had  the  honor  of  distinguished  mention  in  General  Cadoma's 
bulletins,  which  are  austere  in  character  and  make  no  conces- 
sions to  personal  or  collective  ambitions.  I  find  much  to  admire 
in  the  cool  and  confident  bearing  of  the  people,  in  the  endurance 
of  great  fatigues  by  the  troops,  and  in  the  silent  patience  of  the 
wounded  on  the  battle  field.  I  fancy  that  the  army  is  better  in  the 
attack  than  in  the  defense,  and  I  should  trust  most  with  an  Ital- 
ian army  to  an  attack  pressed  through  to  the  end  without 

The  first  indications  of  renewed  activity,  outside  of  artillery 
duels,  anywhere  except  in  the  Trentino,  appeared  during  the  last 
days  of  June.  On  June  28,  1916,  the  Italians  suddenly,  after 
a  comparative  quiet  of  several  months,  began  what  appeared  to 
be  a  strong  offensive  movement  on  the  Isonzo  front.  They  vio- 
lently bombarded  portions  of  the  front  on  the  Doberdo  Pla- 
teau (south  of  Goritz).  In  the  evening  heavy  batteries  were 
brought  to  bear  against  Monte  San  Michele  and  the  region  of 
San  Martino.  After  the  fire  had  been  increased  to  great  intensity 
over  the  whole  plateau,  Italian  infantry  advanced  to  attack.  At 
Monte  San  Michele,  near  San  Martino  and  east  of  Vermigliano, 
violent  fighting  developed.  At  the  Goritz  bridgehead  the  Italians 
attacked  the  southern  portion  of  the  Podgora  position  (on  the 
right  bank  of  the  Isonzo),  and  penetrated  the  first  line  trenches 
of  the  Austrians,  but  were  driven  out. 

The  Italian  offensive  was  continued  the  next  day,  June  29, 
1916,  and  resulted  in  the  capture  of  Hills  70  and  104  in  the 
Monfalcone  district.   The  Austrians  undertook  a  counteroffen- 


sive  at  Monte  San  Michele  and  Monte  San  Marino,  on  the  Do- 
berdo  Plateau,  attacking  the  Italian  lines  under  cover  of  gas. 
Fighting  continued  in  the  Monfalcone  sector  of  the  Isonzo  front 
for  about  a  week,  during  which  time  the  Austrians  vainly  en- 
deavored to  regain  the  positions  which  they  had  lost  in  the  first 
onrush  of  the  Italian  offensive.  After  that  it  again  deteriorated 
into  artillery  activity  which  was  fairly  constantly  maintained 
throughout  the  balance  of  July,  1916,  without  producing  any 
noteworthy  changes  in  the  general  situation. 

Coincident  with  this  short  Italian  offensive  in  the  Monfalcone 
sector  of  the  Isonzo  front,  there  also  developed  considerable 
fighting  to  the  east  on  the  Carso  Plateau,  north  of  Trieste,  which, 
however,  was  equally  barren  of  definite  results. 

Minor  engagements  between  comparatively  small  infantry  de- 
tachments occurred  in  the  adjoining  sector — ^that  of  the  Julian 
Alps — on  July  1,  1916,  especially  in  the  valleys  of  the  Fella,  Gail 
and  Seebach.  These  were  occasionally  repeated,  especially  so  on 
July  19,  1916,  but  throughout  most  of  the  time  only  artillery 
duels  took  place. 

In  the  Camic  Alps  hardly  anything  of  importance  occurred 
throughout  the  late  spring  and  the  entire  summer  of  1916,  ex- 
cepting fairly  continuous  artillery  bombardments,  varying  in 
strength  and  extent. 

Considerable  activity,  however,  was  the  rule  rather  than  the 
exception  in  the  sector  between  the  Camic  Alps  and  the  Dolo- 
mites. There,  one  point  especially,  saw  considerable  fighting. 
Monte  Tofana,  just  beyond  the  frontier  on  the  Austrian  side, 
had  been  held  by  the  Italians  for  a  considerable  period,  and 
with  it  a  small  section  of  the  surrounding  country,  less  than  five 
miles  in  depth.  The  Italians  at  various  times  attempted,  with 
more  or  less  success,  to  extend  and  strengthen  their  holdings, 
while  the  Austrians,  with  equal  determination,  tried  to  wrest 
from  them  what  they  had  already  gained,  and  to  arrest  their 
further  progress. 

In  this  region  Alpine  detachments  of  the  Italian  army  on  the 
night  of  July  8,  1916,  gained  possession  of  a  great  part  of  the 
valley  between  Tofana  Peaks  Nos.  7  and  2,  and  of  a  strong 

290  THE   STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

position  on  Tofana  Prima  commanding  the  valley.  The  Austrian 
garrison  was  surrounded  and  compelled  to  surrender.  The 
Italians  took  190  prisoners,  including  eight  officers,  and  also 
three  machine  guns,  a  large  number  of  rifles  and  ammunition. 

A  few  days  later,  on  July  11,  1916,  the  Italians  exploded  a 
mine,  destroying  the  Austro-Hungarian  defenses  east  of  Col 
dei  Bois  peak.  This  position  commanded  the  road  of  the 
Dolomites  and  the  explosion  blew  it  up  entirely,  and  gave  pos- 
session of  it  to  the  Italians.  The  entire  Austrian  force  which 
occupied  the  summit  was  buried  in  the  wreckage.  On  the 
following  night  the  Austrians  attempted  to  regain  this  position 
which  the  Italians  had  fortified  strongly  in  the  meantime,  but 
the  attack  broke  down  completely. 

Three  days  later,  July  14,  1916,  Italian  Alpine  detachments 
surprised  and  drove  the  Austrians  from  their  trenches  near 
Castelletto  and  at  the  entrance  of  the  Travenanzes  Valley.  They 
took  some  prisoners,  including  two  officers,  as  well  as  two 
guns,  two  machine  guns,  one  trench  mortar  and  a  large  quan- 
tity of  arms  and  ammunition.  An  Austrian  counterattack 
against  this  position  was  launched  on  July  15,  1916,  but  was 

Finally  on  July  30,  1916,  the  Italians  registered  one  more 
success  in  this  region.  Some  of  their  Alpine  troops  carried 
Porcella  Wood  and  began  an  advance  in  the  Travenanzes 

Throughout  this  period  considerable  artillery  activity  was 
maintained  on  both  sides.  As  a  result  Cortina  d'Ampezzo,  on 
the  Italian  side,  suffered  a  great  deal  from  Austrian  shells,  while 
Toblach,  on  the  Austrian,  was  the  equally  unfortunate  recipient 
of  Italian  gunfire. 

On  the  western  frontier,  between  Italy  and  Austria,  along 
Val  Camonica,  only  artillery  bombardments  were  the  order  of 
the  day.  These  were  particularly  severe  at  various  times 
in  the  region  of  the  Tonale  Pass,  but  without  important 

Aeroplanes,  of  course,  were  employed  extenjsively,  both  by  the 
Austro-Hungarians  and  the  Italians,  although  the  nature  of  the 


country  did  not  lend  itself  as  much  to  this  form  of  modem 
warfare  as  in  the  other  theaters  of  war.  Some  of  these  enter- 
prises have  already  been  mentioned.  The  Austrians,  in  this 
respect,  were  at  a  decided  advantage,  because  their  airships 
had  many  objects  for  attacks  in  the  various  cities  of  the  North 
Italian  plain.  Among  these  Bergamo,  Brescia,  and  Padua  were 
the  most  frequent  sufferers,  while  Italian  aeroplanes  frequently 
bombarded  Austrian  lines  of  communication  and  depots. 




WITH  the  same  surprising  vigor  with  which  the  Russian 
armies  in  the  Caucasus  had  pushed  their  advance  toward 
Erzerum,  they  took  up  the  pursuit  of  the  retreating  Turkish 
army,  after  this  important  Armenian  stronghold  had  capitulated 
on  February  16,  1916.  With  Erzerum  as  a  center  the  Russian 
advance  spread  out  rapidly  in  all  directions  toward  the  west  in 
the  general  direction  of  Erzingan  and  Sivas ;  in  the  south  toward 
Mush,  Bitlis  and  the  region  around  Lake  Van,  and  in  the  north 
with  the  important  Black  Sea  port  of  Trebizond  as  the  objective. 
This  meant  a  front  of  almost  300  miles  without  a  single  railroad 
and  only  a  limited  number  of  roads  that  really  deserved  that 
appellation.  Almost  all  of  this  country  is  very  mountainous. 
To  push  an  advance  in  such  country  at  the  most  favorable  season 
of  the  year  involves  the  solution  of  the  most  complicated  military 
problems.  The  country  itself  offers  comparatively  few  oppor- 
tunities for  keeping  even  a  moderate-sized  army  sufficiently 
supplied  with  food  and  water  for  men  and  beasts.  But  consid- 
ering that  the  Russian  advance  was  undertaken  during  the 
winter,  when  extremely  low  temperatures  prevail,  and  when 
vast  quantities  of  snow  add  to  all  the  other  natural  difficulties 
in  the  way  of  an  advancing  army,  the  Russian  successes  were 
little  short  of  marvelous. 

As  early  as  February  23,  1916,  the  right  wing  of  the  Russian 
army  had  reached  and  occupied  the  town  of  Ispir  on  the  river 
Chorok,  about  fifty  miles  northwest  of  Erzerum,  and  halfway 



between  that  city  and  Rizeh,  a  town  on  the  south  shore  of  the 
Black  Sea,  less  than  fifty  miles  east  of  Trebizond.  At  the  same 
time  Russian  destroyers  were  bombarding  the  Black  Sea  coast 
towns.  Under  their  protective  fire  fresh  troops  were  landed 
a  few  days  later  at  Atina  on  the  Black  Sea,  about  sixty  miles 
east  of  Trebizond,  which  promptly  occupied  that  town.  From 
there  they  rapidly  advanced  southward  toward  Rizeh,  forcing 
the  Turks  to  evacuate  their  positions  and  capturing  some  prison- 
ers as  well  as  a  few  guns,  together  with  rifles  and  ammunition. 

The  center,  in  the  meantime,  had  advanced  on  the  Erzerum- 
Trebizond  road,  and  by  February  25,  1916,  occupied  the  town 
of  Ashkala,  about  thirty  miles  from  Erzerum.  From  all  sides 
the  Russian  armies  were  closing  in  on  Trebizond,  and  their 
rapid  success  threw  the  Turkish  forces  into  consternation,  for 
the  loss  of  Trebizond  would  mean  a  serious  threat  to  their 
further  safety,  having  been  up  to  then  the  principal  point 
through  which  supplies  and  ammunition  reached  them  steadily 
and  rapidly  by  way  of  the  Black  Sea.  No  wonder  then  that  the 
London  "Times"  correspondent  in  Petrograd  was  able  to  report 
on  March  5,  1916,  that  all  accounts  agreed  that  the  population 
of  the  Trebizond  region  were  panic-stricken  and  fleeing  even 
then  in  the  direction  of  Kara-Hissar  and  Sivas,  flight  along  the 
Black  Sea  route  being  out  of  question  on  account  of  the  presence 
of  Russian  warships. 

In  the  south  the  left  wing  of  the  Russian  army  was  equally 
successful.  On  March  1,  1916,  it  occupied  Mamawk,  less  than 
ten  miles  north  of  Bitlis,  a  success  foreshadowing  the  fall  of  that 
important  Armenian  city.  And,  indeed,  on  the  next  day,  March 
2,  1916,  Bitlis  was  occupied  by  the  Russians.  This  was  indeed 
another  severe  blow  to  the  Turkish  armies.  Bitlis,  110  miles 
south  of  Erzerum,  in  Armenian  Tamos,  is  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant trade  centers,  and  commands  a  number  of  important 
roads.  It  is  only  about  fifty  miles  north  of  the  upper  Tigris, 
and  even  though  it  is  more  than  350  miles  from  Bagdad,  its 
Occupation  by  Russian  forces  seriously  menaced  the  road  to 
Bagdad,  Bagdad  itself,  and  even  the  rear  of  the  Turkish  army, 
fighting  against  the  Anglo-Indian  army  in  Mesopotamia. 

294  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Hardly  had  the  Turks  recovered  from  this  blow  when  their 
left  wing  in  the  north  suffered  another  serious  reverse  through 
the  loss  of  the  Black  Sea  port  of  Rizeh.  This  event  took  place 
on  March  8,  1916,  and  the  capture  was  accomplished  by  the 
fresh  Russian  troops  that  had  been  landed  a  few  days  before 
at  Atina,  from  which  Rizeh  is  only  twenty-two  miles  distant. 
Along  the  Black  Sea  coast  the  Russians  were  now  within  thirty- 
eight  miles  of  Trebizond.  On  and  on  the  Russians  pressed,  and 
by  March  17,  1916,  their  advance  guard  was  reported  within 
twenty  miles  of  Trebizond.  However,  by  this  time  Turkish 
resistance  along  the  entire  Armenian  front  stiffened  perceptibly. 
This  undoubtedly  was  due  to  reenforcements  which  must  have 
reached  the  Turkish  line  by  that  time.  For  on  March  30,  1916, 
the  official  Russian  statement  announced  that  seventy  officers 
and  400  men  who  had  been  captured  along  the  Caucasus  littoral 
front  belonged  to  a  Turkish  regiment  which  had  previously 
fought  at  Gallipoli.  At  the  same  time  it  was  also  announced 
that  fighting  had  occurred  northwest  of  Mush.  The  Turkish 
forces  involved  in  this  fighting  must  have  been  recent  reenforce- 
ments, because  Mush  is  sixty-five  miles  northwest  of  Bitlis,  the 
occupation  of  which  took  place  about  four  w^eeks  previously,  at 
which  time  the  region  between  Erzerum  and  Bitlis  undoubtedly 
had  been  cleared  of  Turkish  soldiers.  Their  reappearance,  now 
so  close  to  the  road  between  Bitlis  and  Erzerum,  presented  a 
serious  menace  both  to  the  center  and  to  the  left  wing  of  Grand 
Duke  Nicholas's  forces,  for  if  the  Turkish  troops  were  in  large 
enough  force,  the  Russians  were  in  danger  of  having  their  center 
and  left  wing  separated.  This  condition,  of  course,  meant  that 
until  this  danger  was  removed,  the  closest  cooperation  between 
the  various  parts  of  the  Russian  army  became  essential,  and 
therefore  resulted  in  a  general  slowing  down  of  the  Russian 
advance  for  the  time  being. 

In  the  meantime  the  Russian  center  continued  its  advance 
against  Erzingan.  This  is  an  Armenian  town  of  considerable 
military  importance,  being  the  headquarters  of  the  Fourth 
Turkish  Army  Corps.  On  March  16,  1916,  an  engagement  took 
place  about  sixty  miles  west  of  Erzerum,  resulting  in  the  occu- 


I  ation  by  the  Russians  of  the  town  of  Mama  Khatun,  located  on 
the  western  Euphrates  and  on  the  Erzerum-Erzingan-Sivas 
road.  According"  to  the  official  Russian  statement  the  Turks 
lost  five  cannon,  some  machine  guns  and  supplies  and  forty-four 
officers  and  770  men  by  capture.  Here,  too,  however,  the  Turks 
began  to  offer  a  more  determined  resistance,  and  although  the 
official  Russian  statement  of  the  next  day,  March  17,  1916, 
reported  a  continuation  of  the  Russian  advance  towards  Erzin- 
gan,  it  also  mentioned  Turkish  attempts  at  making  a  stand  and 
spoke  even  of  attempted  counterattacks. 

This  stiffening  of  Turkish  resistance  necessitated  apparently 
a  change  in  the  Russian  plans.  No  longer  do  we  hear  now  of 
quick,  straight,  advances  from  point  to  point.  But  the  various 
objectives  toward  which  the  Russians  were  directing  their 
attacks — Trebizond,  Erzingan,  the  Tigris — are  attacked  either 
successfully  or  consecutively  from  all  possible  directions  and 
points  of  vantage.  Not  until  now,  for  instance,  do  we  hear  of 
further  advances  toward  Erzingan  from  the  north.  It  will  be 
recalled  that  as  long  ago  as  February  23,  1916,  the  Russians 
occupied  the  town  of  Ispir,  some  fifty  miles  northwest  of 
Erzerum  on  the  river  Chorok. 

The  headwaters  of  this  river  are  located  less  than  twenty- 
five  miles  northeast  of  Erzingan,  and  up  its  valley  a  new  Russian 
offensive  against  Erzingan  was  started  as  soon  as  the  new 
strength  of  the  Turkish  defensive  along  the  direct  route  from 
Erzerum  made  itself  felt. 

On  April  1,  1916,  and  again  on  April  12,  1916,  the  Turks 
reported  that  they  had  repulsed  attacks  of  Russian  scouting 
parties  advancing  along  the  upper  Chorok,  and  even  claimed 
an  advance  for  their  own  troops.  But  on  the  next  day,  April 
3,  1916,  the  Russians  apparently  were  able  to  turn  the  tables 
on  their  opponents,  claiming  to  have  crossed  the  upper  basin  of 
the  Chorok  and  to  have  seized  strongly  fortified  Turkish  posi- 
tions located  at  a  height  of  10,000  feet  above  sea  level,  capturing 
thereby  a  company  of  Turks.  Again  on  the  following  day, 
April  4,  1916,  the  Russians  succeeded  in  dislodging  Turkish 
forces  from  powerful  mountain  positions. 

296  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Concurrent  with  these  engagements,  fighting  took  place  both 
in  the  south  and  north.  On  April  2,  1916,  a  Turkish  camp  was 
stormed  by  Russian  battalions  near  Mush  to  the  northwest  of 
Bitlis.  Still  farther  south,  about  twenty-five  miles  southeast  of 
Bitlis,  the  small  town  of  Khizan  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the 
Russians,  who  drove  its  defenders  toward  the  south.  The  Rus- 
«ian  advance  to  the  southwest  of  Mush  and  Bitlis  continued 
slowly  but  definitely  throughout  the  next  few  days,  with  the 
town  of  Diarbekr  on  the  right  bank  of  the  upper  Tigris  as  its 

Beginning  with  the  end  of  March,  1916,  the  Turks  also 
launched  a  series  of  strong  counterattacks  along  the  coastal 
front.  The  first  of  these  was  undertaken  during  the  night  of 
March  26,  1916,  but  apparently  was  unsuccessful.  It  was  an 
answer  to  a  strong  attack  on  the  part  of  the  Russians  during 
the  preceding  day  which  resulted  in  the  dislodgment  of  Turkish 
troops  holding  strong  positions  in  the  region  of  the  Baltatchi 
Darassi  River  and  in  the  occupation  by  the  Russians  of  the 
town  of  Off  on  the  Black  Sea,  thirty  miles  to  the  east  of  Trebi- 
zond.  This  success  was  due  chiefly  to  the  superiority  of  the 
Russian  naval  forces,  which  made  it  possible  to  precede  their 
infantry  attack  with  heavy  preparatory  artillery  fire.  By  March 
27,  1916,  the  Russians  had  advanced  to  the  Oghene  Dere  River, 
another  of  the  numerous  small  rivers  flowing  into  the  Black  Sea 
between  Rizeh  and  Trebizond.  There  they  had  occupied  the 
heights  of  the  left  (west)  bank.  During  the  night  the  Turks 
made  a  series  of  strong  counterattacks,  all  of  which,  however, 
were  repulsed  with  considerable  losses  to  the  attackers.  Another 
Turkish  counterattack  in  the  neighborhood  of  Trebizond  was 
launched  on  April  4,  1916.  Although  strongly  supported  by 
gunfire  from  the  cruiser  Breslau,  it  was  repulsed  by  the  com- 
bined efforts  of  the  Russian  land  forces  and  destroyers  lying 
before  Trebizond.  During  the  next  few  days  the  Turks  offered 
the  most  determined  resistance  to  the  Russian  advance  against 
Trebizond,  especially  along  the  river  Kara  Dere.  This  resist- 
ance was  not  broken  until  April  15,  1916,  when  the  Turks  were 
driven  out  of  their  fortified  positions  on  tha  le^t  bank  of  that 


river  by  the  combined  action  of  the  Russian  land  and  naval 
forces.  The  Russian  army  was  now,  after  almost  a  fortnight's 
desperate  fighting,  within  sixteen  miles  of  its  goal,  Trebizond. 
On  April  16,  1916,  it  again  advanced,  occupying  Surmench  on 
the  Black  Sea,  and  reaching  later  that  day,  after  a  successful 
pursuit  of  the  retreating  Turkish  army,  the  village  of  Asseue 
Kalessi,  only  twelve  miles  east  of  Trebizond. 

With  this  defeat  the  fall  of  Trebizond  apparently  was  sealed. 
Although  reports  came  from  various  sources  that  the  Turkish 
General  Staff  was  making  the  most  desperate  efforts  to  save  the 
city  by  dispatching  new  reenforcements  from  central  Anatolia, 
the  Russian  advance  could  not  be  stopped  seriously  any  longer. 
Every  day  brought  reports  of  new  Russian  successes  along  the 
entire  Armenian  front.  On  April  17,  1916,  they  occupied  Drona, 
only  six  and  a  half  miles  east  of  Trebizond.  Then  finally,  on  April 
18,  1916,  came  the  announcement  that  Trebizond  itself  had  been 

Trebizond  is  less  important  as  a  fortified  place  than  as  a  port 
and  harbor  and  as  a  source  of  supply  for  the  Turkish  army.  It 
is  in  no  sense  a  fortress  like  Erzerum,  though  the  defenses  of  the 
town,  recently  constructed,  are  not  to  be  despised.  As  a  vital 
artery  of  communications,  however,  its  value  is  apparent  from 
the  fact,  first,  that  it  is  the  Turks'  chief  port  in  this  region,  and 
secondly,  that  railway  facilities,  which  are  so  inadequate 
throughout  Asia  Minor,  are  nonexistent  along  the  northern 
coast.  Hence  the  Turks  will  have  to  rely  for  the  transport  of 
troops  and  supplies  upon  railways  which  at  the  nearest  point  are 
more  than  300  miles  from  the  front  at  Trebizond. 

Trebizond  is  an  ancient  seaport  of  great  commercial  impor- 
tance, due  chiefly  to  the  fact  that  it  controls  the  point  where  the 
principal  trade  route  from  Persia  and  central  Asia  to  Europe, 
over  Armenia  and  by  way  of  Bayezid  and  Erzerum,  descends  to 
the  sea.  It  has  been  the  dream  of  Russia  for  centuries  to  put  her 
hands  forever  upon  this  important  "window  on  the  Black  Sea." 

Trebizond's  population  is  about  40,000,  of  whom  22,000  are 
Moslems  and  18,000  Christians.  The  city  first  figured  in  history 
during  the  Fourth  Crusade,  when  Alexius  Comneaus,  with  an 

298  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

army  of  Iberian  mercenaries,  entered  it  and  established  himself 
as  sovereign.  In,  1461  Trebizond  was  taken  by  Mohammed  II, 
after  it  had  for  two  centuries  been  the  capital  of  an  empire, 
having  defied  all  attacks,  principally  by  virtue  of  its  isolated 
position,  between  a  barrier  of  rugged  mountains  of  from  7,000 
to  8,000  feet  and  the  sea. 

As  far  as  capturing  important  ports  of  the  Turkish  left  wing 
was  concerned,  the  victory  of  Trebizond  was  an  empty  one.  For 
the  Turks  evacuated  the  town  apparently  a  day  or  two  before  the 
Russians  occupied  it.  The  latter,  therefore,  had  only  the  capture 
of  "some  6-inch  guns"  to  report.  This  quick  evacuation,  at  any 
rate,  was  fortunate  for  the  town  and  its  inhabitants,  for  it  saved 
them  from  a  bombardment  and  the  town  did  not  suffer  at  all  as 
a  result  of  the  military  operations. 

The  campaign  resulting  in  the  fall  of  Trebizond  did  really  not 
begin  until  after  the  fall  of  Erzerum  on  February  16,  1916.  Up 
to  that  time  the  Russian  Caucasian  army  had  apparently  been 
satisfied  to  maintain  strong  defensive  positions  along  the  Turk- 
ish border.  But  since  the  occupation  of  Erzerum  a  definite  plan 
of  a  well-developed  offensive  was  followed  looking  toward  the 
acquisition  of  Turkish  territory  which  had  long  been  coveted  by 

With  the  fall  of  Trebizond  Russia  became  the  possessor, 
at  least  temporarily,  of  a  strip  of  territory  approximately  125 
miles  wide  along  a  front  of  almost  250  miles  length,  or  of  an 
area  of  31,250  square  miles.  In  the  north  this  valuable  acquisi- 
tion was  bounded  by  that  part  of  the  south  shore  of  the  Black 
oea  that  stretches  from  Batum  in  Russian  Transcaucasia  to 
Trebizond.  In  the  south  it  practically  reached  the  Turko-Persian 
frontier,  while  in  the  west  it  almost  reached  the  rough  line 
formed  by  the  upper  Euphrates  and  the  upper  Tigris.  It  thus 
comprised  the  larger  part  of  Armenia.  As  soon  as  the  Russians 
had  found  out  that  the  Turks  had  a  start  of  almost  two  days, 
they  began  an  energetic  pursuit.  The  very  first  day  of  it,  April 
19,  1916,  brought  them  into  contact  with  Turkish  rear  guards 
and  resulted  in  the  capture  of  a  considerable  number  of  them. 
The  retreat  of  the  Turks  took  a  southwesterly  direction  toward 


Baiburt  along  the  Trebizond-Erzerum  road  and  toward  Erzin- 
gan,  to  which  a  road  branches  off  the  Trebizond-Erzerum  road. 
Baiburt  was  held  by  the  Turks  with  a  force  strong  enough  to 
make  it  impossible  for  the  Russians  to  cut  off  the  Trebizond 
garrison.  Along  the  coast  the  Russians  found  only  compara- 
tively weak  resistance,  so  that  they  were  able  to  land  fresh  forces 
west  of  Trebizond  and  occupy  the  town  of  Peatana,  about  ten 
miles  to  the  west  on  the  Black  Sea. 

A  desperate  struggle,  however,  developed  for  the  possession  ^ 
of  the  Trebizond-Erzerum  road.  The  Russians  had  been  astride 
this  road  for  some  time  as  far  as  Madan  Khan  and  Kop,  both 
about  fifty  miles  northwest  of  Erzerum  and  just  this  side  of 
Baiburt.  There  the  Turks  put  up  a  determined  resistance  and 
succeeded  in  holding  up  the  Russian  advance.  Although  they 
were  not  equally  successful  farther  north,  the  Russians  man- 
aged to  advance  along  this  road  to  the  south  of  Trebizond  only 
as  far  as  Jeyizlik — about  sixteen  miles  south  of  Trebizond — 
where  they  were  forced  into  the  mountains  toward  the  Kara 
Dere  River.  This  left  still  the  larger  part  of  the  entire  road  in 
possession  of  the  Turks,  and  especially  that  part  from  which  an- 
other road  branched  off  to  Erzingan. 

In  the  Mush  and  Bitlis  region  the  Russians  had  made  satis- 
factory progress  in  the  meantime.  On  April  19,  1916,  progress 
was  reported  to  the  south  of  Bitlis  toward  Sert,  although  the 
Turks  fought  hard  to  hold  up  this  advance  toward  Diarbekr. 
This  advance  was  the  direct  result  of  the  defeat  which  the  Rus- 
sians had  inflicted  on  a  Turkish  division  at  Bitlis  as  early  as 
April  15,  1916.  By  April  23,  1916,  the  Turks  had  again  gathered 
some  strength  and  were  able  to  report  that  they  had  repulsed 
Russian  attacks  south  of  Bitlis,  west  of  Mush,  east  of  Baiburt, 
and  south  of  Trebizond.  From  then  on,  however,  the  Russians 
again  advanced  to  the  south  of  Bitlis  as  well  as  in  the  direction 
of  Erzingan.  By  the  beginning  of  May,  1916,  the  Russian  official 
statements  do  not  speak  any  longer  of  the  "region  south  of 
Bitlis,"  but  mention  instead  "the  front  toward  Diarbekr."  This 
important  town  is  about  100  miles  southwest  of  Bitlis,  and  ap- 
parently had  become,  after  the  fall  of  Trebizond,  together  with 

300  THE    STORY   OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Erzingan,  one  of  the  immediate  objectives  of  the  Russian  cam- 

Diarbekr  is  a  town  of  35,000  inhabitants,  whose  importance 
arises  from  its  being  the  meeting  point  of  the  roads  from  the 
Mediterranean  via  Aleppo  and  Damascus  from  the  Black  Sea 
via  Amasia-IGiarput,  and  Erzerum  and  from  the  Persian  Gulf 
via  Bagdad.  Ras-el-Ain,  the  present  railhead  of  the  Bagdad 
railway,  is  seventy  miles  south. 

The  stiffening  of  the  Turkish  defensive  was  being  maintained 
as  April,  1916,  waned  and  May  approached.  The  Russian  cam- 
paign in  the  Caucasus  had  resolved  itself  now  into  three  distinc- 
tive parts :  In  the  north  its  chief  objective,  Trebizond,  had  been 
reached  and  gained.  There  further  progress,  of  course,  would 
be  attempted  along  the  shore  of  the  Black  Sea,  and  in  a  way  it 
was  easier  to  achieve  progress  here  than  at  any  other  part  of  the 
Caucasian  front.  For  first  of  all  the  nature  of  the  ground  along 
the  coast  of  the  Black  Sea  was  much  less  difficult,  and  then,  too, 
the  Russian  naval  forces  could  supply  valuable  assistance.  That 
progress  was  not  made  faster  here  hy  the  Russians  was  due  en- 
tirely to  the  fact  that  the  advance  along  the  two  other  sectors 
was  more  difficult  and  the  Turkish  resistance  more  desperate. 
And,  of  course,  if  the  front  of  any  one  sector  was  pushed  con- 
siderably ahead  of  the  front  of  the  other  two,  grave  danger  im- 
mediately arose  that  the  most  advanced  sector  would  be  cut  off 
from  the  rest  of  the  Russian  armies  by  flank  movements.  For 
in  a  country  such  as  Turkish  Armenia,  without  railroads  and 
with  only  a  few  roads,  it  was  of  course  impossible  to  establish  a 
continuous  front  line,  such  as  was  to  be  formed  on  the  European 
battle  fields  both  in  the  east  and  west.  This  explains  why  by  May 
1,  1916,  the  Russian  front  had  been  pushed  less  than  twenty- 
five  miles  west  of  Trebizond,  even  though  almost  two  weeks  had 
elapsed  since  the  fall  of  Trebizond. 

In  the  center  sector  the  immediate  objective  of  the  Russians 
was  Erzingan.  Beyond  that  they  undoubtedly  hoped  to  advance 
to  Swas,  an  important  Turkish  base.  Toward  this  objective  two 
distinct  lines  of  offensive  had  developed  by  now — one  along  the 
valley  of  the  river  Oborok  and  the  other  along  the  Erzerum- 


Erzingan  road  and  the  valley  of  the  western  Euphrates.  The 
latter  was  somewhat  more  successful  than  the  former,  chiefly  be- 
cause it  did  not  offer  so  many  natural  means  of  defense.  But  to 
both  of  these  offensives  the  Turks  now  offered  a  most  determined 
resistance,  and  the  Russians,  though  making  progress  continu- 
ously, did  so  only  very  slowly. 

In  the  southern  sector  conditions  were  very  similar.  Here, 
too,  two  separate  offensives  had  developed,  although  they  were 
more  closely  correlated  than  in  the  center.  One  was  directed  in 
a  southwestern  direction  from  Mush,  and  the  other  in  the  same 
direction  from  Bitlis.  Both  had  as  their  objective  Diarbekr,  an 
important  trading  center  on  the  Tigris  and  a  future  station  on 
tlie  unfinished  part  of  the  Bagdad  railroad.  Here,  too,  Russian 
progress  was  fairly  continuous  but  very  slow. 

Some  interesting  details  regarding  the  tremendous  difficulties 
which  nature  put  in  the  way  of  any  advancing  army,  and  which 
were  utilized  by  the  Turks  to  their  fullest  possibility,  may  be 
gleaned  from  the  following  extracts  from  letters  written  by 
Russian  officers  serving  at  the  Caucasian  front : 

"We  have  traveled  sixty  miles  in  two  days,  and  never  have  we 
been  out  of  sight  of  the  place  from  whence  we  started.  South 
and  north  we  have  scouted  until  we  have  come  into  touch  with 
the  cavalry  of  the Corps  of  the  vedettes  which  the  Cos- 
sacks of  the  Don  furnished  for  the Brigade.     Sometimes 

it  is  wholly  impossible  to  ride.  The  slopes  of  these  hills  are  cov- 
ered with  huge  bowlders,  behind  any  of  which  half  a  company  of 
the  enemy  might  be  lurking.  That  has  been  our  experience,  and 

poor  K was  shot  dead  while  leading  his  squadron  across 

a  quite  innocent-looking  plateau  from  which  we  thought  the 
enemy  had  been  driven. 

"As  it  turned  out,  a  long  line  of  bowlders,  which  he  thought 
were  too  small  to  hide  anything  but  a  sniper,  in  reality  marked 
a  rough  trench  line  which  a  Kurdish  regiment  was  holding  in 

strength,  K was  shot  down,  as  also  was  his  lieutenant, 

and  half  the  squadron  were  left  on  the  ground.  Fortunately,  at 
the  foot  of  the  road  leading  down  to  the  plateau,  the  sergeant 
who  led  the  men  out  of  action  found  one  of  our  Caucasian  regi- 

802  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

ments  who  are  used  to  dealing  with  the  fezzes,  and  they  came 
up  at  the  double,  and  after  two  hours'  fighting  were  reenforced 
by  another  two  companies  and  carried  the  trench. 

"Farther  back  we  found  the  enemy  in  a  stronger  plateau.  Al- 
most within  sight  of  the  enemy  we  made  tea  and  rested  beforo 
attempting  to  push  forward  to  the  fight. 

"An  officer  of  the  staff  who  does  not  understand  the  Caucasian 
way  reproved  the  colonel  for  delaying,  but  he  took  a  very  philo- 
sophical view,  and  pointed  out  that  it  was  extremely  doubtful 
whether  he  even  now  had  men  enough  to  carry  the  enormous 
position,  and  that  he  certainly  could  not  do  so  with  exhausted 
troops.  So  we  had  the  extraordinary  spectacle  of  our  men  lying 
down  flat,  blowing  their  fires  and  drinking  their  tea  and  laugh- 
ing and  joking  as  though  they  were  at  a  picnic,  but  when  they 
had  finished  and  had  formed  up  they  made  short  work  of  the 
fellows  in  the  trench.  But  think  of  what  would  have  happened 
if  we  had  left  this  plateau  unsearched!" 

"On  the  Baiburt  road,"  writes  another  Russian  officer,  "there 
was  one  small  pass  which  had  been  roughly  reconnoitered,  and 
through  this  we  were  moving  some  of  the  heavy  guns,  not  imag- 
ining that  there  were  any  Turks  within  ten  miles,  when  a  heavy 
fire  was  opened  from  a  fir  wood  a  thousand  feet  above  us.  The 
limbers  of  the  guns  were  a  long  way  in  the  rear,  and  there  was 
no  way  of  shelling  this  enemy  from  his  aerie.  There  was  nothing 
to  do  .but  for  the  battalion  which  was  acting  as  escort  to  the  guns 
to  move  up  the  slope  under  a  terrific  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire 
and  investigate  the  strength  of  the  attack.  The  guns  were  left 
on  the  road,  and  mules  and  horses  were  taken  to  whatever  cover 
could  be  found,  and  an  urgent  message  was  sent  back  to  the  ef- 
fect that  the  convoy  was  held  up,  but  the  majority  of  the  infantry 
had  already  passed  the  danger  point.  Two  mountain  batteries 
were  commandeered,  however,  and  these  came  into  action,  firing 
incendiary  shells  into  the  wood,  which  was  soon  blazing  at  sev- 
eral points. 

"The  battle  which  then  began  between  the  Turks  who  had  been 
ejected  from  the  wood  and  the  gun  escort  lasted  for  the  greater 
part  of  the  afternoon.  It  was  not  until  sunset  that  two  of  our 


batteries,  which  had  been  brought  back  from  the  front  for  the 
purpose,  opened  fire  upon  the  Turks'  position,  and  the  ambushers 
were  compelled  to  capitulate.  The  progress  on  the  left  was  even 
more  difficult  than  that  which  we  experienced  in  the  northern 
sector.  •The  roads  were  indescribable.  Where  they  mounted  and 
crossed  the  intervening  ridges  they  were  almost  impassable, 
whilst  in  the  valleys  the  gun  carriages  sank  up  to  their  axles  in 
liquid  mud." 

From  still  another  source  we  hear : 

''In  the  Van  sector  a  Russian  brigade  was  held  up  by  a  forest 
fire,  started  by  the  Turks,  which  made  all  progress  impossible. 
For  days  a  brigade  had  to  sit  idle  until  the  fire  had  burned  itself 
out,  and  even  when  they  moved  forward  it  was  necessary  to 
cover  all  the  munition  wagons  with  wet  blankets,  and  the  ashes 
through  which  the  stolid  Russians  marched  were  so  hot  as  to 
bu/n  away  the  soles  of  their  boots. 

"A  curious  discovery  which  was  made  in  this  extraordinary 
march  was  the  remains  of  a  Turkish  company  which  had  evi- 
dently been  caught  in  the  fire  they  had  started  and  had  been 
unable  to  escape." 

On  May  1,  1916,  Russian  Cossacks  were  able  to  drive  back 
Turkish  troops,  making  a  stand  somewhere  west  of  Erzerum  and 
east  of  Erzingan.  Other  detachments  of  the  same  service  of  the 
Russian  army  were  equally  successful  on  May  2,  1916,  in  driving 
back  toward  Diarbekr  resisting  Turkish  forces  west  of  Mush  and 
Bitlis,  and  a  similar  achievement  was  officially  reported  on  May 
3,  1916.  On  the  same  date  Russian  regiments  made  a  successful 
night  attack  in  the  upper  Chorok  basin  which  netted  some  im- 
portant Turkish  positions,  which  were  immediately  strongly 
fortified.  May  4,  1916,  brought  a  counterattack  on  the  part  of 
Turkish  forces  in  the  Chorok  sector  at  the  town  of  Baiburt, 
which,  however,  was  repulsed.  On  the  same  day  the  Russians 
stormed  Turkish  trenches  along  the  Erzerum-Erzingan  road, 
during  which  engagement  most  savage  bayonet  fighting  devel- 
oped, ending  in  success  for  the  Russian  armies.  Turkish  attacks 
west  of  Bitlis  were  likewise  repulsed.  On  May  5,  1916,  the  Turks 
attempted  to  regain  the  t'^enches  in  the  Erzingan  sector  lost  the 

T— War  St.  5 

304  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

day  before,  but  although  their  attack  was  supported  by  artillery, 
it  was  not  successful. 

The  Russian  official  statement  of  May  7,  1916,  gives  some  data 
concerning  the  booty  which  the  Russians  captured  at  Trebizond. 
It  consisted  of  eight  mounted  coast  defense  guns,  fourteen  6-inch 
guns,  one  field  gun,  more  than  100  rifles,  fifty-three  ammunition 
wagons,  supply  trains  and  other  war  material.  This,  taken  in 
connection  with  the  fact  that  practically  the  entire  Turkish 
garrison  escaped,  confirms  the  view  expressed  previously  that 
the  capture  of  Trebizond  was  of  great  importance  to  the  Rus- 
sians, not  so  much  on  account  of  what  they  themselves  gained 
thereby,  but  on  account  of  what  the  Turks  lost  by  being  deprived 
of  their  principal  harbor  on  the  Black  Sea,  comparatively  close 
to  the  Caucasian  theater  of  war. 

The  Turkish  artillery  attack  of  May  5,  1916,  in  the  Erzingan 
sector  was  duplicated  on  May  7,  1916,  but  this  time  the  Russians 
used  their  guns,  and  apparently  with  telling  effect.  For  so  dev- 
astating was  the  Russian  fire  directed  toward  the  newly  estab- 
lished Turkish  trenches  that  the  Turks  had  to  evacuate  their  en- 
tire first  line  and  retire  to  their  second  line  of  defensive  works. 
Throughout  the  entire  day  on  May  8,  1916,  the  Turks  doggedly 
attacked  the  Russian  positions.  Losses  on  both  sides  were  heavy, 
especially  so  on  the  Turkish  side,  which  hurled  attack  after  at- 
tack against  the  Russian  positions,  not  desisting  until  nightfall. 
Though  no  positive  gain  was  made  thereby,  the  Russians  at  least 
were  prevented  from  further  advances.  The  same  day.  May  8, 
1916,  yielded  another  success  for  the  Russians  in  the  southern 
sector,  south  of  Mush.  There,  between  that  town  and  Bitlis, 
stretches  one  of  the  numerous  mountain  ranges,  with  which  this 
region  abounds.  On  it  the  Turks  held  naturally  strong  positions 
which  had  been  still  more  strengthened  by  means  of  artificial 
defense  works.  A  concentrated  Russian  attack,  prepared  and 
supported  by  artillery  fire,  drove  the  Turks  not  only  from  these 
positions,  but  out  of  the  mountain  range. 

On  May  9, 1916,  engagements  took  place  along  the  entire  front. 
In  the  center  fighting  occurred  near  Mount  Koph,  in  the  Chorok 
basin  southeast  of  Baiburt,  and  the  Turks  made  some  300  pris- 


oners.  Farther  south  a  Turkish  attack  near  Mama  Khatun  was 
stopped  by  Russian  fire.  In  the  south  another  Turkish  attack 
in  the  neighborhood  of  Kirvaz,  about  twenty-five  miles  northwest 
of  Mush,  forced  back  a  Russian  detachment  after  capturing  some 
fifty  men.  All  this  time  the  Russians  were  industriously  build- 
ing fortifications  along  the  Black  Sea  coast  both  east  and  west 
of  Trebizond.  During  the  night  of  May  9,  1916,  the  Turks  made 
a  successful  surprise  attack  against  a  Russian  camp  near 
Baschkjoej,  about  thirty-five  miles  southeast  of  Mama  Khatun. 
There  a  Russian  detachment  consisting  of  about  500  men,  of 
which  one-half  was  cavalry  and  one-half  infantry,  found  them- 
selves suddenly  surrounded  by  the  bayonets  of  a  superior  Turk- 
ish force.  All,  except  a  small  number  who  managed  to  escape, 
were  cut  to  pieces. 

As  the  Russians  succeeded  in  pushing  their  advance  westward, 
even  if  only  very  slowly,  they  became  again  somewhat  more  ac- 
tive in  the  north  along  the  Black  Sea.  On  May  10,  1916,  they 
were  reported  advancing  both  south  and  southwest  of  Platana, 
a  small  seaport  about  twelve  miles  west  of  Trebizond.  Through- 
out May  11,  1916,  engagements  of  lesser  importance  took  place 
at  various  parts  of  the  entire  front.  During  that  night  the  Turks 
launched  another  strong  night  attack  in  the  Erzingan  sector, 
without,  however,  being  able  to  register  any  marked  success.  The 
same  was  true  of  an  attack  made  May  12,  1916,  near  Mama 
Khatun.  In  the  south,  between  Mush  and  Bitlis,  an  engagement 
which  was  begun  on  May  10,  1916,  concluded  with  the  loss  of 
one  Turkish  gun,  2,000  rifles  and  considerable  stores  of  ammu- 
nition. In  the  Chorok  sector  the  Turks  succeeded  on  May  13, 
1916,  in  driving  the  Russian  troops  out  of  their  positions  on 
Mount  Koph  and  in  forcing  them  back  in  an  easterly  direction 
for  a  distance  of  from  four  to  five  miles.  There,  however,  the 
Russians  succeeded  in  making  a  stand,  though  their  attempt  to 
regain  their  positions  failed.  May  14,  1916,  was  comparatively 
uneventful.  Some  Russian  reconnoitering  parties  clashed  with 
Turkish  advance  guards  near  Mama  Khatun,  and  a  small  force 
of  Kurds  was  repulsed  west  of  Bitlis.  On  May  16,  1916,  the  Rus- 
sians announced  officially  that  they  had  occupied  Mama  Khatun, 

306  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

a  small  town  on  the  western  Euphrates,  about  fifty  miles  west 
of  Erzerum  and  approximately  the  same  distance  from  Erzingan. 
Throughout  the  balance  of  May,  1916,  fighting  along  the  Cau- 
casian front  was  restricted  ahnost  entirely  to  clashes  between 
outposts,  which  in  some  instances  brought  slight  local  successes 
to  the  Russian  arms,  and  at  other  times  yielded  equally  unimpor- 
tant gains  for  the  Turkish  sides.  To  a  certain  extent  this  slowing 
down  undoubtedly  was  due  to  the  determined  resistance  on  the 
part  of  the  Turks.  It  is  also  quite  likely  that  part  of  the  Rus- 
sian forces  in  the  north  had  been  diverted  earlier  in  the  month 
to  the  south  in  order  to  assist  in  the  drive  against  Bagdad  and 
Moone,  which  was  pushed  with  increased  vigor  just  previous  to 
and  right  after  the  capitulation  of  the  Anglo-Indian  forces  at 
Kut-el-Amara  in  Mesopotamia. 




AS  far  as  the  Turko-English  struggle  in  the  Tigris  Valley  is 
concerned,  the  preceding  volume  carried  us  to  the  beginning 
of  March,  1916.  On  March  8,  1916,  an  official  English  com- 
munique was  published  which  raised  high  hopes  among  the  Allied 
nations  that  the  day  of  delivery  for  General  Townshend's  force 
was  rapidly  approaching.  That  day  was  the  ninety-first  day  of 
the  memorable  siege  of  Kut-el-Amara.  On  it  the  English  relief 
force  under  General  Aylmer  had  reached  the  second  Turkish  line 
at  Es-Sinn,  only  eight  miles  from  Kut-el-Amara.  After  an  all 
night  march  the  English  forces,  approaching  in  three  columns 
against  the  Dujailar  Redoubt,  attacked  immediately  after  day- 
break. Both  flanks  of  the  Turkish  line  were  subjected  to  heavy 
artillery  fire.  But,  although  this  resulted  quickly  in  a  wild  stam- 
pede of  horses,  camels  and  other  transport  animals  and  also 
inflicted  heavy  losses  in  the  ranks  of  the  Turkish  reenf  orcements, 
which  immediately  came  up  in  close  order  across  the  open  ground 
in  back  of  the  Turkish  position,  the  English  troops  could  not 
make  any  decisive  impression  on  the  strongly  fortified  position. 
Throughout  the  entire  day,  March  8,  1916,  the  attacks  were  kept 
up,  but  the  superior  Turkish  forces  and  the  strong  fortifications 
that  had  been  thrown  up  would  not  yield.  Lack  of  water — all 
of  which  had  to  be  brought  up  from  the  main  camp — made  it 
impossible  for  the  English  troops  to  maintain  these  attacks  be- 


308  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

yond  the  end  of  that  day.  In  spite  of  the  fact  that  they  could 
see  the  flash  of  the  guns  of  their  besieged  compatriots  who  were 
attacking  the  rear  of  the  Turkish  hne  from  Kut,  they  were  forced 
to  give  up  their  attempt  to  raise  the  siege.  During  the  night 
of  March  8,  1916,  they  returned  to  the  main  camp,  which  was 
located  about  twenty-three  miles  from  Kut-el-Amara. 

The  unusual  conditions  and  the  immense  difficulties  which  con- 
fronted the  English  relief  force  may  be  more  easily  understood 
from  the  following  very  graphic  description  of  this  undertaking 
rendered  by  the  official  representative  of  the  British  press  with 
the  Tigris  Corps : 

''The  assembly  was  at  the  Pools  of  Siloam,  a  spot  where  we 
used  to  water  our  horses,  two  miles  southwest  of  Thorny  Nullah. 
We  left  camp  at  seven,  just  as  it  was  getting  dark.  We  had  gone 
a  mile  when  we  saw  the  lamps  of  the  assembly  posts — thousands 
of  men  were  to  meet  here  from  different  points,  horse,  foot,  and 
guns.  They  would  proceed  in  three  columns  to  a  point  south  of 
west,  where  they  would  bifurcate  and  take  a  new  direction.  Col- 
umns A  and  B  making  for  the  depression  south  of  the  Dujailar 
Redoubt,  Column  C  for  a  point  facing  the  Turkish  lines  between 
the  Dujailar  and  Sinn  Aftar  Redoubts.  There  was  never  such 
a  night  march.  Somebody  quoted  Tel-el-Kebir  as  a  precedent, 
but  the  difficulties  here  were  doubled.  The  assembly  and  guid- 
ance of  so  large  a  force  over  ground  untrodden  by  us  previously, 
and  featureless  save  for  a  nullah  and  some  scattered  sand  hills, 
demanded  something  like  genius  in  discipline  and  organization. 

"I  was  with  the  sapper  who  guided  the  column.  Our  odd 
little  party  reported  themselves  to  the  staff  officer  under  the 
red  lamp  of  Column  A.  'Who  are  you  T  he  asked,  and  it  tickled 
my  vanity  to  think  that  we,  the  scouts,  were  for  a  moment  the 
most  vital  organ  of  the  whole  machine.  If  anything  miscarried 
with  us,  it  would  mean  confusion,  perhaps  disaster.  For  in 
making  a  flank  march  round  the  enemy's  position  we  were  dis- 
regarding, with  justifiable  confidence,  the  first  axiom  of  war. 

"We  were  an  odd  group.  There  was  the  sapper  guide.  He 
had  his  steps  to  count  and  his  compass  to  look  to  when  his 
eye  was  not  on  a  bearing  of  the  stars.    And  there  was  the  guard 


of  the  guide  to  protect  him  from  the — suggestions  of  doubts 
as  to  the  correctness  of  his  line.  Everything  must  depend  on 
one  head,  and  any  interruption  might  throw  him  off  his  course. 
As  we  were  starting  I  heard  a  digression  under  the  lamp. 

"  'I  make  it  half  past  five  from  Sirius.* 

"  *I  make  it  two  fingers  left  of  that.* 

"  'Oh,  you  are  going  by  the  corps  map.' 

"  *Two  hundred  and  six  degrees  true.' 

"  *I  was  going  by  magnetic  bearing.' 

"Ominous  warning  of  what  might  happen  if  too  many  guides 
directed  the  march. 

"Then  there  was  the  man  with  the  bicycle.  We  had  no  cyclom- 
eter, but  two  men  checked  the  revolution  of  the  wheel.  And 
there  were  other  counters  of  steps,  of  whom  I  was  one,  for  count- 
ing and  comparison.  From  these  an  aggregate  distance  was 
struck.  But  it  was  not  until  we  were  well  on  the  march  that 
I  noticed  the  man  with  the  pace  stick,  who  staggered  and  reeled 
like  an  inebriated  crab  in  his  efforts  to  extricate  his  biped  from 
the  unevennesses  of  the  ground  before  he  was  trampled  down 
by  the  column.  I  watched  him  with  a  curious  fascination,  and 
as  I  grew  sleepier  and  sleepier  that  part  of  my  consciousness 
which  was  not  counting  steps,  recognized  him  as  a  cripple  who 
had  come  out  to  Mesopotamia  in  this  special  role  'to  do  his  bit.' 
His  humped  back,  protruding  under  his  mackintosh  as  he  labored 
forward,  bent  into  a  hoop,  must  have  suggested  the  idea  which 
was  accepted  as  fact  until  I  pulled  myself  together  at  the  next 
halt  and  heard  the  mechanical  and  unimaginative  half  of  me 
repeat  Tour  thousand,  seven  hundred,  and  twenty-one.'  The 
man  raised  himself  into  erectness  with  a  groan,  and  a  crippled 
greengrocer  whom  I  had  known  in  my  youth,  to  me  the  basic 
type  of  hunchback — became  an  upstanding  British  private. 

"Walking  thus  in  the  dark  with  the  wind  in  one's  face  at  a 
kind  of  funeral  goose  step  it  is  very  easy  to  fall  asleep.  The 
odds  were  that  we  should  blunder  into  some  Turkish  picket  or 
patrol.  Looking  back  it  was  hard  to  realize  that  the  inky  masses 
behind,  like  a  column  of  following  smoke,  was  an  army  on  the 
march.    The  stillness  was  so  profound  one  heard  nothing  save 

310  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

the  howl  of  the  jackal,  the  cry  of  fighting  geese,  and  the  un- 
greased  wheel  of  an  ammunition  limber,  or  the  click  of  a  picket- 
ing peg  against  a  stirrup. 

"The  instinct  to  smoke  was  almost  irresistible.  A  dozen  times 
one's  hands  felt  for  one*s  pipe,  but  not  a  match  was  struck  in  all 
that  army  of  thousands  of  men.  Sometimes  one  feels  that  one  is 
moving  in  a  circle.  One  could  swear  to  lights  on  the  horizon, 
gesticulating  figures  on  a  bank. 

"Suddenly  we  came  upon  Turkish  trenches.  They  were 
empty,  an  abandoned  outpost.  The  column  halted,  made  a  cir- 
cuit. I  felt  that  we  were  involved  in  an  inextricable  coil,  a  knot 
that  could  not  be  unraveled  till  dawn.  We  were  passing  each 
other,  going  different  ways,  and  nobody  knew  who  was  who. 
But  we  swung  into  direct  line  without  a  hitch.  It  was  a  miracle 
of  discipline  and  leadership. 

"At  the  next  long  halt,  the  point  of  bifurcation,  the  counter  of 
steps  was  relieved.  An  hour  after  the  sapper  spoke.  The 
strain  was  ended.  We  had  struck  the  sand  hills  of  tlie  Dujailar 
depression.  Then  we  saw  the  flash  of  Townshend's  guns  at 
Kut,  a  comforting  assurance  of  the  directness  of  our  line.  That 
the  surprise  of  the  Turk  was  complete  was  shown  by  the  fires 
in  the  Arab  encampments,  between  which  we  passed  silently  in 
the  false  dawn.  A  mile  or  two  to  our  north  and  west  the  camp- 
fires  of  the  Turks  were  already  glowing. 

"Flank  guards  were  sent  out.  They  passed  among  the  Arab 
tents  without  a  shot  being  fired.  Soon  the  growing  light  dis- 
closed our  formidable  numbers.  Ahead  of  us  there  was  a  camp 
in  the  nullah  itself.  An  old  man  just  in  the  act  of  gathering 
fuel  walked  straight  into  us.  He  threw  himself  on  his  knees 
at  my  feet  and  lifted  his  hands  with  a  biblical  gesture  of  suppli- 
cation crying  out,  *Ar-rab,  Ar-rab,'  an  effective,  though  probably 
unmerited,  shibboleth.  As  he  knelt  his  women  at  the  other  end  of 
the  camp  were  driving  off  the  village  flock.  Here  I  remem- 
bered that  I  was  alone  with  the  guide  of  a  column  in  an  event 
which  ought  to  have  been  as  historic  as  the  relief  of  Khartum." 

After  this  unsuccessful  attempt  at  relief  comparative  quiet 
reigned  for  about  a  week,  interrupted  only  by  occasional  encoun- 


ters  between  small  detachments.  On  March  11,  1916,  English 
outposts  had  advanced  again  about  seven  miles  toward  Kut-el- 
Amara  to  the  neighborhood  of  Abn  Roman,  among  the  sand 
hills  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Tigris.  There  they  surprised  at 
dawn  a  small  Turkish  force  and  made  some  fifty  prisoners,  in- 
cluding two  officers.  Throughout  the  next  two  or  three  days 
intermittent  gunfire  and  sniping  were  the  only  signs  of  the  con- 
tinuation of  the  struggle.  On  March  15,  1916,  two  Turkish 
guns  were  put  out  of  action  and  during  that  night  the  Turks 
evacuated  the  sand  hills  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  which 
were  promptly  occupied  by  English  troops  in  the  early  morning 
hours  of  March  16,  1916. 

During  the  balance  of  March,  1916,  conditions  remained  prac- 
tically unchanged.  The  siege  of  General  Townshend's  force  was 
continued  by  the  Turks  along  the  same  lines  to  which  they  had 
adhered  from  its  beginning — a  process  of  starving  their  oppon- 
ents gradually  into  surrender.  No  attempt  was  made  by  them  to 
force  the  issue,  except  that  on  March  23,  1916,  the  English  gen- 
eral reported  that  his  camp  at  Kut-el-Amara  had  been  subjected 
to  intermittent  bombardment  by  Turkish  airships  and  guns 
during  March  21,  22,  and  23,  1916.  No  serious  damage,  how- 
ever, was  inflicted. 

As  spring  advanced  the  difficulties  of  the  English  forces  at- 
tempting the  relief  of  General  Townshend  increased,  for  with 
the  coming  of  spring,  there  also  came  about  the  middle  of 
March — the  season  of  floods.  Up  in  the  Armenian  highlands, 
whence  the  Tigris  springs,  vast  quantities  of  snow  then  begin  to 
melt.  Throughout  March,  April,  and  May,  1916,  a  greatly  in- 
creased volume  of  water  finds  the  regular  shallow  bed  of  the 
Tigris  woefully  insufficient  for  its  needs.  The  entire  lack  of 
jetties  and  artificial  embankments  results  in  the  submersion  of 
vast  stretches  of  land  adjacent  to  the  river.  Military  opera- 
tions along  its  banks  then  become  quite  impossible,  although  in 
many  places  this  impossibility  exists  throughout  the  entire  year, 
because  the  land  on  both  sides  of  the  river  for  miles  and  miles 
has  been  permitted  to  deteriorate  into  bottomless  swamps, 
through  which  even  the  ingenuity  of  highly  trained  engineering 

812  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

troops  finds  it  impossible  to  construct  a  roadway  within  the 
available  space  of  time. 

These  natural  difficulties  were  still  more  increased  by  the  fact 
that  the  equipment  of  the  relief  force  was  not  all  that  might 
have  been  expected.  This  is  well  illustrated  by  the  following 
letter  from  a  South  African  officer,  published  in  ttie  "Cape 
Times :" 

"The  river  Tigris  plays  the  deuce  with  the  surrounding  coun- 
try when  it  gets  above  itself,  from  melting  snows  coming  down 
from  the  Caucasus,  when  it  frequently  tires  of  its  own  course 
and  tries  another.  The  river  is  the  only  drinking  water,  and  you 
can  imagine  the  state  of  it  when  Orientals  have  anything  to 
do  with  it.  A  sign  of  its  fruity  state  is  the  fact  that  sharks 
abound  right  up  to  Kuma. 

"We  have  all  kinds  of  craft  up  here,  improvised  for  use  higher 
up.  His  Majesty's  ship  Clio,  a  sloop,  was  marked  down  in 
1914  to  be  destroyed  as  obsolete,  but  she,  with  her  sister  ships, 
Odin  and  Espiegle,  have  done  great  work  in  the  battles  to  date. 
Now  that  we  have  got  as  far  as  Amara  and  Nassariyeh,  the 
vessels  that  give  the  greatest  assistance  are  steam  launches  with 
guns  on  them,  flat-bottomed  Irrawaddy  paddle  steamers.  For 
troops  we  have  'nakelas'  a  local  sailing  vessel,  and  have  'hel- 
iums,' a  long,  narrow,  small  cone-shaped  thing,  holding  from 
fifteen  to  twenty  men ;  barges  for  animals,  etc.  Rafts  have  been 
used  higher  up  to  mount  guns  on.  Here  we  have  also  motor 

"The  difficulties  as  we  advance  are  increased  to  a  certain  ex- 
tent, though  country  and  climate  are  improving.  Our  lines  of 
communication  will  lengthen  out,  and  we  shall  have  to  look  out 
for  Arab  tribes  raiding.  Our  aerial  service  is  increasing;  we 
have  now  a  Royal  Navy  flight  section,  which  has  hydroplanes 
as  well." 

In  spite  of  these  handicaps,  however.  General  Lake,  in  com- 
mand of  the  English  relief  force,  reported  on  April  5,  1916,  that 
a  successful  advance  was  in  progress  and  that  the  Tigris  Corps 
at  five  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  that  day  had  made  an  attack 
against  the  Turkish  position  at  Umm-el-Hannah,  and  had  car- 


ried  the  Turkish  intrenchments.  Umm-el-Hannah  is  at  a  much 
greater  distance  from  Kut-el-Amara  than  Es-Sinn  which  was 
reached  on  March  8,  1916,  but  from  where  the  relief  force  had 
to  withdraw  again  that  same  night  to  a  position  only  a  short 
distance  beyond  Umm-el-Hannah.  However,  it  is  located  on 
the  left  bank  of  the  Tigris,  the  same  as  Kut-el-Amara,  and  the 
success  of  taking  this  position,  small  as  it  was,  promised  there- 
fore, once  more  an  early  relief  of  General  Townshend. 

This  successful  attack  against  Umm-el-Hannah  on  April  5, 
1916,  was  carried  out  by  the  Thirteenth  Division,  which  had 
previously  fought  at  the  Dardanelles.  It  now  stood  under  the 
command  of  Lieutenant  General  Sir  G.  Gorringe  who  had  suc- 
ceeded to  General  Aylmer.  The  most  careful  preparations  had 
been  made  for  it.  For  many  weeks  British  engineering  troops 
had  pushed  forward  a  complicated  series  of  sap  works,  covering 
some  sixteen  miles  and  allowing  the  British  forces  to  approach 
to  within  100  yards  of  the  Turkish  intrenchments.  With  the 
break  of  dawn  on  April  5,  1916,  bombing  parties  were  sent  for- 
ward. Whose  cheers  soon  announced  the  fact  that  they  had  in- 
vaded the  first  line  of  Turkish  trenches.  Already  on  the  pre- 
vious day  the  way  had  been  cleared  for  them  by  their  artillery, 
which  by  means  of  incessant  fire  had  destroyed  the  elaborate 
wire  entanglements  which  the  Turks  had  constructed  in  front 
of  their  trenches. 

The  storming  of  the  first  line  of  trenches  was  followed  quickly 
by  an  equally  successful  attack  on  the  second  line.  By  6  a.  m., 
one  hour  after  the  beginning  of  the  attack,  the  third  line  had 
been  carried  with  the  assistance  of  concentrated  machine-gun 
and  artillery  fire.  Within  another  hour  the  same  troops  had 
stormed  and  occupied  the  fourth  and  fifth  lines  of  the  Turks. 
The  latter  thereupon  were  forced  to  fall  back  upon  their  next 
line  of  defensive  works  at  Felahieh  and  Sanna-i-Yat,  about 
four  and  six  miles  respectively  farther  up  the  river.  Reen- 
forcements  were  quickly  brought  up  from  the  Turkish  main 
position  at  Es-Sinn,  some  farther  ten  miles  up,  and  with  fever- 
ish haste  the  intrenchments  were  made  stronger.  General  Gor- 
ringe's  aeroplane  scouts  promptly  observed  and  reported  these 

814  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

operations,  and  inasmuch  as  the  ground  between  these  new 
positions  and  the  positions  which  had  just  been  gained  by 
the  British  troops  is  absolutely  flat  and  offers  no  means  of 
cover  whatsoever,  the  British  advance  was  stopped  for  the  time 

In  the  meantime  the  Third  British  Division  under  General 
Keary  had  advanced  along  the  right  bank  of  the  river  and  had 
carried  Turkish  trenches  immediately  in  front  of  the  Felahieh 
position.  In  the  afternoon  of  April  5,  1916,  the  Turks  tried  to 
regain  these  trenches  by  means  of  a  strong  counterattack  with 
infantry,  cavalry  and  artillery,  but  were  unable  to  dislodge  the 
British  forces. 

With  nightfall  General  Gorringe  again  returned  to  the  attack 
along  the  left  bank  and  stormed  the  Felahieh  position.  Here, 
too,  the  Turks  had  constructed  a  series  of  successive  deep 
trenches,  some  of  which  were  taken  by  the  British  battalions 
only  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet.  This  attack  as  well  as  all 
the  previous  attacks  were,  by  the  nature  of  the  ground  over 
which  they  had  to  be  fought,  frontal  attacks.  For  all  the  Turk- 
ish positions  rested  on  one  side  of  the  river  and  on  the  other 
on  the  Suwatcha  swamps,  excluding,  therefore,  any  flank  attack 
on  the  part  of  the  British  forces. 

Again  General  Gorringe  halted  his  advance,  influenced  un- 
doubtedly by  the  open  ground  and  increasing  difficulties  caused 
by  stormy  weather  and  floods.  April  6,  7,  and  8,  1916,  were 
devoted  by  the  British  forces  to  the  closest  possible  reconnois- 
sance  of  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position  and  to  the  necessary  prepara- 
tory measures  for  its  attack,  while  the  Turks  energetically 
strengthened  this  position  by  means  of  new  intrenchments  and 
additional  reenforcements  from  their  position  at  Es-Sinn. 

With  the  break  of  dawn  on  April  19,  1916,  General  Gorringe 
again  attacked  the  Turkish  lines  at  Sanna-i-Yat.  The  attack 
was  preceded  by  heavy  artillery  fire  lasting  more  than  an  hour. 
In  the  beginning  the  British  troops  entered  some  of  the  Turkish 
trenches,  but  were  driven  back  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet. 
After  this  stood  success.  Again  the  floods  came  to  the  assistance 
of  the  Turkish  troops.     Increasing,  as  they  were,  day  by  day, 


they  covered  more  and  more  of  the  ground  adjoining  the  river 
bed  and  thereby  narrowed  the  front,  on  which  an  attack  could 
be  delivered,  so  much  so  that  most  of  its  force  was  bound  to  be 
lost.  According  to  Turkish  reports  the  British  lost  over  3,000 
hi  dead.  Although  the  British  commanding  general  stated  that 
his  losses  were  much  below  this  number,  they  must  have  been 
very  heavy,  from  the  very  nature  of  the  ground  and  climatic 
conditions,  and  much  heavier,  indeed,  than  those  of  the  Turks 
which  officially  were  stated  to  have  been  only  seventy-nine  killed, 
168  wounded  and  nine  missing. 

After  this  unsuccessful  attempt  to  advance  further  a  lull  en- 
sued for  a  few  days.  On  April  12,  1916,  however,  the  Third 
Division  again  began  to  attack  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Tigris 
and  pushed  back  the  Turks  over  a  distance  varying  from  one 
and  one-half  to  three  miles.  At  the  same  time  a  heavy  gale  in- 
undated some  of  the  advanced  Turkish  trenches  on  the  left 
bank  at  Sanna-i-Yat  with  the  waters  from  the  Suwatcha 
marshes.  This  necessitated  a  hurried  withdrawal  to  new  posi- 
tions, which  British  guns  made  very  costly  for  the  Turks.  A 
heavy  gale  made  further  operations  impossible  for  either  side  on 
April  13  and  14,  1916.  On  the  following  day,  April  15,  1916, 
the  Third  Division  again  advanced  a  short  distance  on  the  right 
bank,  occupying  some  of  the  advanced  Turkish  trenches.  Fur- 
ther trenches  were  captured  on  April  16  and  17,  1916,  at  which 
time  the  Turks  lost  between  200  and  300  in  killed,  180  by  cap- 
ture as  well  as  two  field  and  five  machine  guns,  whereas  the  Eng- 
lish losses  were  stated  to  have  been  much  smaller.  This  was 
due  to  the  fact  that  for  once  the  English  forces  had  been  able 
to  place  their  guns  so  that  their  infantry  was  enabled  to  ad- 
vance under  their  protection  up  to  the  very  trenches  of  the 
Turks,  which,  at  the  same  time,  were  raked  by  the  gunfire  and 
fell  comparatively  easily  into  the  hands  of  the  attackers.  The 
latter  immediately  pressed  their  advantage  and  succeeded  in 
advancing  some  hundred  yards  beyond  the  position  previously 
held  by  the  Turks  near  Beit  Eissa.  Here,  as  well  as  during  the 
fighting  of  the  few  preceding  days,  the  British  troops  were  fre- 
quently forced  to  advance  wading  in  water  up  to  their  waist, 

816  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

after  having  spent  the  night  before  in  camps  which  had  no  more 
solid  foundation  than  mud.  They  were  now  within  four  miles 
of  the  Turkish  position  at  Es-Sinn,  which  in  turn  was  less  than 
ten  miles  from  Kut-el-Amara.  However,  this  position  had  been 
made  extremely  strong  by  the  Turks  and  extended  much  fur- 
ther to  the  north  and  south  of  the  Tigris  than  any  of  the  posi- 
tions captured  so  far  by  the  British  relief  force. 

In  spite  of  this  the  Turks  recognized  the  necessity  of  defend- 
ing the  intermediate  territory  to  the  best  of  their  abiUty.  After 
the  British  success  at  Beit  Eissa  in  the  early  morning  of  April 
17,  1916,  they  again  brought  up  strong  reenforcements  from 
Es-Sinn,  and  at  once  launched  two  strong  counterattacks,  both  of 
which,  however,  were  repulsed  by  the  British. 

During  the  night  of  April  17  and  18,  1916,  the  Turks  again 
made  a  series  of  counterattacks  in  force  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Tigris,  and  this  time  they  succeeded  in  pushing  back  the  British 
lines  between  500  and  800  yards.  According  to  English  reports, 
about  10,000  men  were  involved  on  the  Turkish  side  among 
whom  there  were  claimed  to  be  some  Germans.  The  same 
source  estimates  Turkish  losses  in  dead  alone  to  have  been  more 
than  3,000,  and  considerably  in  excess  of  the  total  British  losses. 
On  the  other  hand  the  official  Turkish  report  places  the  latter  as 
above  4,000,  and  also  claims  the  capture  of  fourteen  machine 
guns.  Storms  set  in  again  on  April  18  and  19,  1916,  and  pre- 
vented further  operations. 

Beginning  with  April  20,  1916,  the  rehef  force  prepared  for 
another  attack  of  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position  on  the  left  bank  of 
the  Tigris,  by  a  systematic  bombardment  of  it,  lasting  most  of 
that  night,  the  following  night,  April  21,  1916,  and  the  early 
morning  of  April  22,  1916.  On  that  day  another  attack  was 
launched.  Again  the  flooded  condition  of  the  country  fatally 
handicapped  the  British  troops.  To  begin  with,  there  was  only 
enough  dry  ground  available  for  one  brigade  to  attack,  and 
that  on  a  very  much  contracted  front  against  superior  forces. 
To  judge  from  the  official  British  report,  the  leading  formations 
of  this  brigade  gallantly  overcame  the  severe  obstacles  in  their 
way  in  the  form  of  logs  and  trencher  full  of  water.    But,  al- 


though  they  succeeded  in  penetrating  the  Turkish  first  and  sec- 
ond lines,  and  in  some  instances  even  in  reaching  the  third 
lines,  their  valor  brought  no  lasting  success,  because  it  was  im- 
possible for  reenforcements  to  come  up  quickly  enough  in  the 
face  of  the  determined  Turkish  resistance  strongly  supported 
by  machine-gun  fire.  According  to  the  Turkish  reports,  the  Brit- 
ish lost  very  heavily  without  being  able  to  show  any  gain  at 
the  end  of  the  day.  The  same  condition  obtained  on  the  right 
bank  of  the  Tigris.  In  spite  of  this  failure  the  bombardment 
of  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position  was  kept  up  by  the  British  artillery 
throughout  April  23,  1916.  On  the  next  day,  April  24,  1916, 
the  British  troops  again  registered  a  small  success  by  being 
able  to  extend  their  line  at  Beit  Eissa,  on  the  right  Tigris  bank — 
in  the  direction  of  the  Umm-el-Brahm  swamps.  On  the  left 
bank,  however,  the  line  facing  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position  re- 
mained in  its  original  location. 

All  this  time  General  Townshend  was  able  to  communicate 
freely  by  means  of  wireless  with  the  relief  forces.  As  the  weeks 
rolled  by  it  became  evident  that  his  position  was  becoming  rap- 
idly untenable  on  account  of  the  unavoidable  decrease  of  all  sup- 
plies. Having  had  his  lines  of  communication  cut  off  ever  since 
December  3,  1915,  it  was  now  almost  five  months  since  he  had 
been  forced  to  support  the  lives  of  some  10,000  men  from  the 
meager  supplies  which  they  had  with  them  at  the  time  of  their 
hurried  retreat  from  Ctesiphon  to  Kut-el-Amara,  which  were 
only  slightly  increased  by  whatever  stores  had  been  found  at 
the  latter  place.  So  complete  was  the  circle  which  the  Turks 
had  thrown  around  Kut  that  not  a  pound  of  food  had  come 
through  to  the  besieged  garrison.  It  was  well  known  that  the 
latter  had  been  forced  for  weeks  to  exist  on  horse  flesh.  Beyond 
that,  however,  few  details  concerning  the  life  of  the  Anglo- 
Indian  force  during  the  siege  were  known  at  that  time  except 
that  they  had  not  been  subjected  to  any  attack  on  the  part  of 
the  Turks. 

During  the  night  of  April  24,  1916,  one  more  desperate  effort 
was  made  to  bring  relief  to  General  Townshend's  force.  A  ship, 
carrying  supplies,  was  sent  up  the  Tigris.    Although  this  under- 

318  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

taking  was  carried  out  most  courageously  in  the  face  of  the 
Turkish  guns  commanding  the  entire  stretch  of  the  Tigris  be- 
tween Sanna-i-Yat  and  the  Turkish  Hnes  below  Kut-el-Amara,  it 
miscarried,  for  the  boat  went  aground  near  Magasis,  about  four 
miles  below  Kut-el-Amara.  Another  desperate  effort  to  get  at 
least  some  supplies  to  Kut  by  means  of  aeroplanes  also  failed. 
The  British  forces  had  only  some  comparatively  antiquated 
machines,  which  quickly  became  the  prey  of  the  more  modem 
equipment  of  the  Turks. 



BY  the  end  of  April  it  had  become  only  a  question  of  days, 
almost  of  hours,  when  it  would  be  necessary  for  General 
Townshend  to  surrender.  It  was,  therefore,  no  surprise  when 
in  the  morning  of  April  29,  1916,  a  wireless  report  was  received 
from  him  reading  as  follows : 

"Have  destroyed  my  guns,  and  most  of  my  munitions  are  be- 
ing destroyed ;  and  officers  have  gone  to  Khalil,  who  is  at  Madug, 
to  say  am  ready  to  surrender.  I  must  have  some  food  here, 
and  cannot  hold  on  any  more.  IGialil  has  been  told  to-day,  and 
a  deputation  of  officers  has  gone  on  a  launch  to  bring  some  food 
from  Julnar." 

A  few  hours  afterward  another  message,  the  last  one  to 
come  through,  reached  the  relief  forces,  announcing  the  actual 
surrender : 

"I  have  hoisted  the  white  flag  over  Kut  fort  and  towns,  and 
the  guards  will  be  taken  over  by  a  Turkish  regiment,  which  is 
approaching.  I  shall  shortly  destroy  wireless.  The  troops  at  2 
p.  m.  to  camp  near  Shamran." 

It  was  on  the  hundred  and  forty-third  day  of  the  siege  that 
General  Townshend  was  forced  by  the  final  exhaustion  of  his 
supplies  to  hoist  the  white  flag  of  surrender.  According  to  th( 
official  British  statements  this  involved  a  force  of  "2970  Brit* 


ish  troops  of  all  ranks  and  services  and  some  6,000  Indian 
troops  and  their  followers/' 

About  one  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  April  29,  1916,  a  pre- 
arranged signal  from  the  wireless  indicated  that  the  wireless 
had  been  destroyed.  It  was  then  that  the  British  emissaries 
were  received  by  the  Turkish  commander  in  chief,  Khalil  Bey 
Pasha,  in  order  to  arrange  the  terms  of  surrender.  According 
to  these  it  was  to  be  unconditional.  But  the  Turks,  who  ex- 
pressed the  greatest  admiration  for  the  bravery  of  the  British, 
readily  agreed  to  a  number  of  arrangements  in  order  to  reduce 
as  much  as  possible  the  suffering  on  the  part  of  the  captured 
British  forces  who  by  then  were  near  to  starvation.  As  the 
Turks  themselves  were  not  in  a  position  to  supply  their  cap- 
tives with  sufficiently  large  quantities  of  food,  it  was  arranged 
that  such  supplies  should  be  sent  up  the  Tigris  from  the  base 
of  the  relief  force.  It  was  also  arranged  that  wounded  pris- 
ners  should  be  exchanged  and  during  the  early  part  of  May, 
1916,  a  total  of  almost  1,200  sick  and  wounded  reached  head- 
quarters of  the  Tigris  Corps  as  quickly  as  the  available  ships 
could  transport  them. 

The  civil  population  of  Kut-el-Amara  had  not  been  driven 
out  by  General  Townshend  as  had  been  surmised.  This  was  un- 
doubtedly due  to  the  fact  that  a  few  civilians  who,  driven  by 
hunger,  had  attempted  to  escape,  had  been  shot  promptly  by  the 
Turks.  Rather  than  jeopardize  the  lives  of  some  6,000  unfor- 
tunate Arabs,  the  English  commander  permitted  them  to  remain 
and  the  same  rations  that  went  to  the  British  troops  were  dis- 
tributed to  the  Arabs.  This,  of  course,  hastened  the  surrender, 
an  eventuality  on  which  the  Turks  undoubtedly  had  counted 
when  they  adopted  such  stringent  measures  against  their  own 
subjects  who  were  caught  in  their  attempt  to  flee  from  Kut. 
Although  Khalil  Pasha  refused  to  give  any  pledge  in  regard  to 
the  treatment  of  these  civilians,  he  stated  to  the  British  emis- 
saries that  he  contemplated  no  reprisals  or  persecutions  in  re- 
gard to  the  civilian  population  and  that  their  future  treatment 
at  the  hands  of  the  Turkish  troops  would  depend  entirely  on 
their  future  behavior. 

U— War  St.  5 

320  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

With  the  least  possible  delay  the  Turks  moved  their  prisoners 
from  Kut-el-Amara  to  Bagdad  and  from  there  to  Constantinople, 
from  which  place  it  was  reported  on  June  11,  1916,  that  General 
Townshend  had  arrived  and,  after  having  been  received  with 
military  honors,  had  been  permitted  to  visit  the  United  States 
ambassador  who  looked  after  British  interests  in  Turkey  during 
the  war.  An  official  Turkish  statement  announced  ttiat  to- 
gether with  General  Townshend  four  other  generals  had  been 
captured  as  well  as  551  other  officers,  of  whom  about  one-half 
were  Europeans  and  another  half  Indians.  The  same  announce- 
ment also  claimed  that  the  British  had  destroyed  most  of  their 
guns  and  other  arms,  but  that  in  spite  of  this  the  Turks  cap- 
tured about  forty  cannon,  twenty  machine  guns,  almost  5,000 
rifles,  large  amounts  of  ammunition,  two  ships,  four  automobiles, 
and  three  aeroplanes. 

It  was  only  after  the  capitulation  of  General  Townshend  that 
details  became  available  concerning  the  suffering  to  which  the 
besieged  army  was  subjected  and  the  heroism  with  which  all 
this  was  borne  by  officers  and  men,  whites  and  Hindus  alike. 
An  especially  clear  picture  of  conditions  existing  in  Kut-el-Amara 
during  the  siege  may  be  gained  from  a  letter  sent  to  Bombay 
by  a  member  of  the  Indian  force  and  later  published  in  various 
newspapers.     It  says  in  part: 

"Wounded  and  diseased  British  and  native  troops  are  arriving 
from  Kut-el-Amara,  having  been  exchanged  for  an  equal  number 
of  Turkish  prisoners.  They  bring  accounts  of  Townshend's 
gallant  defense  of  Mesopotamia's  great  strategic  point.  Some 
are  mere  youngsters  while  others  were  soldiers  before  the  war. 

"All  are  frightfully  emaciated  and  are  veritable  skeletons  as 
the  result  of  their  starvation  and  sufferings.  The  absolute  ex- 
haustion of  food  necessitated  the  capitulation,  and  if  General 
Townshend  had  not  surrendered  nearly  the  whole  force  would 
have  died  of  starvation  within  a  week. 

"The  Turkish  General  Khalil  Pasha  provided  a  river  steamer 
for  the  unexchanged  badly  wounded,  the  others  marching  over- 
land. Because  of  the  wasted  condition  of  the  prisoners  the 
marches  were  limited  to  five  miles  a  day. 


"When  the  capitulation  was  signed  only  six  mules  were  left 
alive  to  feed  a  garrison  and  civilian  population  of  nearly  20,000 

"In  the  early  stages  of  the  siege,  the  Arab  traders  sold  stocks 
of  jam,  biscuits,  and  canned  fish  at  exorbitant  prices.  The  stores 
were  soon  exhausted  and  all  were  forced  to  depend  upon  the 
army  commissariat.  Later  a  dead  officer's  kit  was  sold  at 
auction.  Eighty  dollars  was  paid  for  a  box  of  twenty-five  cigars 
and  twenty  dollars  for  fifty  American  cigarettes. 

"In  February  the  ration  was  a  pound  of  barley-meal  bread 
and  a  pound  and  a  quarter  of  mule  or  horse  flesh.  In  March  the 
ration  was  reduced  to  half  a  pound  of  bread  and  a  pound  of 
flesh.  In  April  it  was  four  ounces  of  bread  and  twelve  ounces 
of  flesh,  which  was  the  allowance  operative  at  the  time  of  the 
surrender.  The  food  problem  was  made  more  difficult  by  the 
Indian  troops,  who  because  of  their  religion  refused  to  eat  flesh, 
fearing  they  would  break  the  rules  of  their  caste  by  doing  so. 

"When  ordinary  supplies  were  diminished  a  sacrifice  was  de- 
manded of  the  British  troops  in  order  to  feed  the  Indians,  whose 
allowance  of  grain  was  increased  while  that  of  the  British  was 
decreased.  Disease  spread  among  the  horses  and  hundreds 
were  shot  and  buried.  The  diminished  grain  and  horse  feed 
supply  necessitated  the  shooting  of  nearly  2,000  animals.  The 
fattest  horses  and  mules  were  retained  as  food  for  forty  days. 

"Kut-el-Amara  was  searched  as  with  a  fine  tooth  comb  and 
considerable  stores  of  grain  were  discovered  beneath  houses. 
These  were  commandeered,  the  inhabitants  previously  self-sup- 
porting receiving  the  same  ration  as  the  soldiers  and  Sepoys. 
It  was  difficult  to  use  the  grain  because  of  inability  to  grind  it 
into  flour,  but  millstones  were  finally  dropped  into  the  camp  by 

"In  the  first  week  in  February  scurvy  appeared,  and  aero- 
planes dropped  seeds,  which  General  Townshend  ordered  planted 
on  all  the  available  ground,  and  the  gardens  bore  sufficient  fruit 
to  supply  a  few  patients  in  the  hospital. 

"Mule  and  horse  meat  and  sometimes  a  variety  of  donkey 
meat  were  boiled  in  the  muddy  Tigris  water  without  salt  or 




seasoning.  The  majority  became  used  to  horseflesh  and  their 
main  complaint  was  that  the  horse  gravy  was  like  clear  oil. 

"Stray  cats  furnished  many  a  delicate  'wild  rabbit'  supper. 
A  species  of  grass  was  cooked  as  a  vegetable  and  it  gave  a  relish 
to  the  horseflesh.  Tea  being  exhausted,  the  soldiers  boiled  bits 
of  ginger  root  in  water.  Latterly  aeroplanes  dropped  some  sup- 
plies. These  consisted  chiefly  of  com,  flour,  cocoa,  sugar,  tea, 
and  cigarettes. 

"During  the  last  week  of  the  siege  many  Arabs  made  attempts 
to  escape  by  swimming  the  river  and  going  to  the  British  lines, 
twenty  miles  below.  Of  nearly  100,  only  three  or  four  succeeded 
in  getting  away.  One  penetrated  the  Turkish  lines  by  floating 
in  an  inflated  mule  skin." 

Another  intimate  description  was  furnished  by  the  official 
British  press  representative  with  the  Tigris  Corps  and  is  based 
on  the  personal  narratives  of  some  of  the  British  officers  who, 
after  having  been  in  the  Kut  hospital  for  varying  periods  of  the 
siege  on  account  of  sickness  or  wounds,  were  exchanged  for 
wounded  Turkish  officers  taken  by  the  relief  force.  According 
to  this  the  real  privations  of  the  garrison  began  in  the  middle  of 
February  and  were  especially  felt  in  the  hospital. 

"When  the  milk  gave  out  the  hospital  diet  was  confined  to 
corn,  flour,  or  rice  water  for  the  sick,  and  ordinary  rations  for 
the  wounded.  On  April  21,  1916,  the  4  oz.  grain  rations  gave 
out.  From  the  22d  to  the  25th  the  garrison  subsisted  on  the 
two  days'  reserve  rations  issued  in  January ;  and  from  the  25th 
to  the  29th  on  supplies  dropped  by  aeroplanes. 

"The  troops  were  so  exhausted  when  Kut  capitulated  that  the 
regiments  who  were  holding  the  front  line  had  remained  there 
a  fortnight  without  being  relieved.  They  were  too  weak  to  carry 
back  their  kit.  During  the  last  days  of  the  siege  the  daily  death 
rate  averaged  eight  British  and  twenty-one  Indians. 

"All  the  artillery,  cavalry,  and  transport  animals  had  been 
consumed  before  the  garrison  fell.  When  the  artillery  horses 
had  gone  the  drivers  of  the  field  batteries  formed  a  new  unit 
styled  'Kut  Foot.'  One  of  the  last  mules  to  be  slaughtered  had 
been  on  three  Indian  frontier  campaigns,  and  wore  the  ribbons 

324  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

round  its  neck.  The  supply  and  transport  butcher  had  sent  it 
back  twice,  refusing  to  kill  it,  but  in  the  end  it  had  to  go  with  the 
machine-gun  mules.  Mule  flesh  was  generally  preferred  to 
horse,  and  mule  fat  supplied  good  dripping;  also  an  improvised 
substitute  for  lamp  oil. 

"The  tobacco  famine  was  a  great  privation,  but  the  garrison 
did  not  find  the  enforced  abstention  cured  their  craving,  as  every 
kind  of  substitute  was  there.  An  Arab  brand,  a  species  similar 
to  that  smoked  in  Indian  hookahs,  was  exhausted  early  in  April. 
After  that  lime  leaves  were  smoked,  or  ginger,  or  baked  tea  dregs. 
In  January  English  tobacco  fetched  forty-eight  rupees  a  half 
pound  (equal  to  eight  shillings  an  ounce) . 

"Just  before  General  Townshend*s  force  entered  Kut  a  large 
consignment  of  warm  clothing  had  arrived,  the  gift  of  the  British 
Red  Cross  Society.  This  was  most  opportune  and  probably  saved 
many  lives.  Tht  garrison  had  only  the  summer  kit  they  stood 
up  in. 

"Different  units  saw  very  little  of  each  other  during  the  siege. 
At  the  beginning  indirect  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire,  in  addition 
to  shells,  swept  the  whole  area  day  and  night.  The  troops  only 
left  the  dugouts  for  important  defense  work.  During  the  late 
phase  when  the  fire  slackened  officers  and  men  had  little  strength 
for  unnecessary  walking.  Thus  there  was  very  little  to  break 
the  monotony  of  the  siege  in  the  way  of  games,  exercise,  or 
amusements,  but  on  the  right  bank  two  battalions  in  the  licorice 
factory,  the  110th  Mahratas  and  the  120th  Infantry,  were  better 
off,  and  there  was  dead  ground  here — 'a  pitch  of  about  fifty  by 
twenty  yards* — ^where  they  could  play  hockey  and  cricket  with 
pick  handles  and  a  rag  balL  They  also  fished,  and  did  so  with 
success,  supplementing  the  rations  at  the  same  time.  Two  com- 
panies of  Norfolks  joined  them  in  turn,  crossing  by  ferry  at 
night,  and  they  appreciated  the  relief." 

A  personal  acquaintance  of  the  heroic  defense  of  Kut-el-Amara 
drew  in  a  letter  to  the  London  "Weekly  Times"  the  following 
attractive  picture  of  this  strong  personality: 

"A  descendant  of  the  famous  Lord  Townshend  who  fought  with 
Wolfe  at  Quebec,  and  himself  heir  to  the  marquisate,  General 


Townshend  set  himself  from  boyhood  to  maintain  the  fighting 
traditions  of  his  family.  His  military  fighting  has  been  one  long 
record  of  active  service  in  every  part  of  the  world.  Engaged 
first  in  the  Nile  expedition  of  1884-85,  Townshend  next  took 
part  in  the  fighting  on  the  northwest  frontier  of  India  in  1891-92, 
when  he  leaped  into  fame  as  commander  of  the  escort  of  the 
British  agent  during  the  siege  of  Chitral.  He  fought  in  the 
Sudan  expedition  of  1898,  and  served  on  the  staff  in  the  South 
African  War.  In  the  peaceful  decade  which  followed  Townshend 
acted  for  a  time  as  military  attache  in  Paris,  was  on  the  staff 
in  India,  and  finally  commanded  the  troops  at  Bloemfontein, 
Orange  River  Colony. 

"The  outbreak  of  the  Great  War  found  him  in  command  of  a 
division  in  India,  longing  to  be  at  the  front  in  France,  but  des- 
tined, as  events  turned  out,  to  win  greater  fame  in  Mesopotamia. 
All  accounts  agree  as  to  the  masterly  strategy  with  which  he 
defeated  Nur-ed-Din  Pasha  at  Kut-el-Amara,  and  subsequently 
fought  the  battle  of  Ctesiphon.  Those  two  battles  and  his  heroic 
endurance  of  the  long  siege  of  Kut  have  given  his  name  a  per- 
manent place  in  the  annals  of  the  British  army. 

"TowTishend  has  always  attributed  his  success  as  a  soldier  to 
his  constant  study  of  the  campaigns  of  Napoleon,  a  practice 
which  he  has  long  followed  for  a  regular  period  of  every  day 
wherever  he  has  happened  to  be  serving.  He  has  mastered  the 
Napoleonic  battle  fields  at  first  hand,  and  is  an  ardent  collector  of 
Napoleonic  literature  and  relics.  Everyone  who  knows  him  is 
familiar  with  the  sight  of  the  paraphernalia  of  his  studies  in 
peace  time — ^the  textbooks  and  maps,  spread  on  the  ground  or 
on  an  enormous  table,  to  which  he  devotes  his  morning  hours. 
During  the  present  campaign  his  letters  have  been  full  of  com- 
parisons with  the  difficulties  which  confronted  Napoleon. 

"But  Townshend  possesses  other  qualities  besides  his  zeal  for 
his  profession,  and  one  of  them  at  least  must  have  stood  him  in 
good  stead  during  these  anxious  months.  He  is  indomitably 
serene  and  cheerful,  a  lover  of  amusement  himself  and  well  able 
to  amuse  others.  In  London  and  Paris  he  is  nearly  as  well 
known  in  the  world  of  playwtights  and  actors  as  in  the  world 

326  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  soldiers.  He  can  sing  a  good  song  and  tell  a  good  story. 
Like  Baden-Powell,  the  hero  of  another  famous  siege,  he 
is  certain  to  have  kept  his  gallant  troops  alert  and  interested 
during  the  long  period  of  waiting  for  the  relief  which  never  came. 
Up  to  the  last  his  messages  to  the  outside  world  have  been  full  of 
cheery  optimism  and  soldierly  fortitude.  No  general  was  ever 
less  to  blame  for  a  disastrous  enterprise  or  better  entitled  to  the 
rewards  of  success." 


SPRING     AND     SUMMER     TRENCH      WAR     ON 

A  FTER  the  surrender  of  Kut-el-Amara  a  lull  of  a  few  weeks 
-^^  occurred.  The  Turkish  forces  seemed  to  be  satisfied  for  the 
time  being  with  their  victory  over  their  English  opponents  for 
which  they  had  striven  so  long.  The  English  forces  below  Kut- 
el-Amara  likewise  seemed  to  have  ceased  their  activities  as  soon 
as  the  fall  of  Kut  had  become  an  establi^ed  fact. 

Almost  for  three  weeks  this  inactivity  was  maintained. 
On  May  19,  1916,  however,  both  sides  resumed  military  opera- 
tions. The  Turks  on  that  day  vacated  an  advanced  position  on 
the  south  bank  of  the  Tigris  at  Beit  Eissa,  which  formed  the 
southern  prolongation  of  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position.  On  the  north 
bank  the  latter  was  still  held  strongly  by  the  Sultan's  forces. 

Immediately  following  this  move  the  English  troops,  who 
under  General  Sir  Gorringe  had  attempted  the  relief  of  Kut-el- 
Amara,  attacked.  Advancing  about  three  miles  south  of  the 
Tigris  and  south  of  the  Umm-el-Brahm  marshes,  they  threw 
themselves  against  the  southern  end  of  the  Turkish  position  at 
Es-Sinn.  The  latter  is  about  seven  miles  west  of  the  former  and 
about  the  same  distance  east  of  Kut-el-Amara.  It  began  on  the 
north  bank  of  the  Tigris,  a  few  miles  north  of  the  Suwatcha 
marshes,  continued  between  these  and  the  Tigris  and  for  almost 
five  miles  in  a  southeasterly  direction.   On  its  southern  end  the 


Turks  had  erected  a  strong  redoubt,  known  under  the  name 
Dujailar  Redoubt,  from  which  a  strong  line  of  six  lesser  redoubts 
run  in  a  southwesterly  direction  to  the  Shatt-al-hai.  This  body 
of  water  is  the  ancient  bed  of  the  Tigris.  In  the  first  half  of  the 
year  it  is  a  navigable  stream,  carrying  the  waters  of  the  Tigris 
across  the  desert  to  the  Euphrates  near  Nasiriyeh,  a  town  which 
British  forces  have  held  since  the  spring  of  1915.  It  was  against 
the  key  of  this  very  strong  line  of  defense,  the  Dujailar  Redoubt, 
which  General  Gorringe's  battalions  attacked.  At  various  other 
times  before  English  troops  had  attempted  to  carry  this  point, 
but  had  never  succeeded.  This  time,  however,  they  did  meet  with 
success.  In  spite  of  strong  resistance  they  stormed  and  carried 
the  position. 

On  the  same  day,  May  19,  1916,  it  was  officially  announced 
that  a  force  of  Russian  cavalry  had  joined  General  Gorringe's 
troops.  This  cavalry  detachment,  of  course,  was  part  of  the 
Russian  forces  operating  in  the  region  of  Kermanshah  in  Persia. 
Inasmuch  as  these  troops  were  then  all  of  200  miles  from  Kut- 
el-Amara  and  had  to  pass  through  a  rough  and  mountainous 
country,  entirely  lacking  in  roads  and  inhabited  by  hostile  and 
extremely  ferocious  Kurdish  hillmen,  the  successful  dash  of  this 
cavalry  detachment  was  little  short  of  marvelous.  The  difficul- 
ties which  had  to  be  faced  and  the  valor  which  was  exhibited  is 
interestingly  described  by  the  official  British  press  representa- 
tive with  the  Mesopotamian  forces : 

"The  Cossacks'  ride  across  country  was  a  fine  and  daring 
achievement,  an  extreme  test  of  our  Allies'  hardness,  mobility, 
and  resource.  Their  route  took  them  across  a  mountainous  ter- 
ritory which  has  been  a  familiar  landmark  in  the  plains  where 
we  have  been  fighting  for  the  last  few  months. 

"The  country  traversed  was  rough  and  precipitous  and  the 
track  often  difficult  for  mules.  They  crossed  passes  over  8,000 
feet  high.  Enemy  forces  were  likely  to  be  encountered  at  any 
moment,  as  these  hills  are  infested  with  warlike  tribes,  whose 
attitude  at  the  best  might  be  described  as  decidedly  doubtful. 

"Their  guide  was  untrustworthy.  He  roused  their  suspicions 
by  constant  attempts  to  mislead  them,  and  eventually  he  had  to 

828  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

point  the  way  with  a  rope  round  his  neck.  Nevertheless,  they 
met  with  no  actual  opposition  during  the  whole  journey  other 
than  a  few  stray  shots  at  long  range. 

"They  traveled  light.  For  transport  they  had  less  than  one 
pack  animal  for  ten  men.  These  carried  ammunition,  cooking 
pots,  and  a  tent  for  officers.  Otherwise,  beyond  a  few  simple 
necessaries,  they  had  no  other  kit  than  what  they  stood  up  in, 
and  they  lived  on  the  country,  purchasing  barley,  flour,  rice,  and 
sheep  from  the  villagers.  Fodder  and  fuel  were  always  obtain- 

"For  ambulance  they  had  only  one  assistant  surgeon,  provided 
with  medical  wallets,  but  none  of  these  Cossacks  fell  sick.  They 
are  a  hard  lot. 

"Their  last  march  was  one  of  thirty  miles,  during  which  five 
of  their  horses  died  of  thirst  or  exhaustion  on  the  parched  desert, 
and  they  reached  camp  after  nightfall.  Yet,  after  a  dinner 
which  was  given  in  their  honor,  they  were  singing  and  dancing 
all  night  and  did  not  turn  in  till  one  in  the  morning. 

"The  ride  of  the  Cossacks  establishing  direct  contact  between 
the  Russian  force  in  Persia  and  the  British  force  on  the  Tigris, 
of  course,  has  inipressed  the  tribesmen  on  both  sides  of  the 

On  the  next  day  the  Turks  withdrew  all  their  forces  who,  on 
the  south  bank  of  the  Tigris,  had  held  the  Es-Sinn  position.  Only 
at  a  bridge  across  the  Shatt-al-Hai,  about  five  miles  below  its 
junction  with  the  Tigris,  they  left  some  rear  guards.  On  the 
north  bank  of  the  Tigris  they  continued  to  hold,  not  only  the  Es- 
Sinn  position,  but  also  the  Sanna-i-Yat  position,  some  eight  miles 
farther  down  the  river.  This  meant  that  General  Gorringe  not 
only  had  carried  an  important  position,  but  also  that  he  had  ad- 
vanced the  British  lines  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Tigris  by  about 
ten  miles,  for  on  May  20,  1916,  the  British  positions  were  estab- 
lished along  a  line  running  from  the  village  of  Magasis,  on  the 
south  bank  of  the  Tigris,  about  five  miles  east  of  Kut-el-Amara, 
to  a  point  on  the  Shatt-al-Hai,  about  equally  distant  from  Kut. 

The  withdrawal  of  the  Turkish  forces  on  the  south  bank  of  the 
Tigris  naturally  left  their  positions  on  the  north  bank  very  much 


TRENCH   WAR    ON   THE    TIGRIS  329 

exposed  to  British  attacks.  It  was,  therefore,  not  at  all  surpris- 
ing that  English  artillery  subjected  the  Turks  on  the  north  bank 
to  heavy  bombardments  during  the  following  days,  nor  that 
this  fire  was  extremely  effective.  However,  in  spite  of  this  fact, 
the  Turks  continued  to  maintain  their  positions  on  the  north 
bank  of  the  Tigris. 

Throughout  the  balance  of  May,  June,  and  July,  1916,  nothing 
of  importance  occurred  in  Mesopotamia.  The  temperature  in 
that  part  of  Asia  during  the  early  summer  rises  to  such  an 
extent  that  military  operations  become  practically  impossible. 
It  is  true  that  from  time  to  time  unimportant  skirmishes  between 
outposts  and  occasional  artillery  duels  of  very  limited  extent 
took  place.  But  they  had  no  influence  on  the  general  situation 
or  on  the  location  of  the  respective  positions. 

During  the  early  part  of  the  month  the  British  trenches  on 
the  north  bank  of  the  Tigris  were  pushed  forward  a  short  dis- 
tance, until  they  were  within  200  yards  of  the  Turkish  position, 
Sanna-i-Yat,  where  they  remained  for  the  balance  of  midsum- 
mer. To  the  south  of  Magasis,  on  the  south  bank  of  the  river, 
British  troops  occupied  an  advanced  position  about  three  and 
one-half  miles  south  of  the  main  position.  Then  they  stopped 
there  too.  About  the  same  time,  June  10,  1916,  Turkish  guns 
sunk  three  barges  on  the  Tigris,  the  only  actual  success  which 
the  Sultan's  forces  won  since  the  fall  of  Kut-el-Amara. 

Along  the  Euphrates,  where  British  troops  had  held  certain 
positions  ever  since  1915,  there  was  also  an  almost  entire  lack 
of  activity,  except  that  occasional  small  and  entirely  local  puni- 
tive expeditions  became  necessary  in  order  to  hold  in  hand  the 
Arab  tribes  of  the  neighborhood. 

Climatic  conditions  continued  extremely  trying,  and  enforced 
further  desistance  from  military  activity  until,  toward  the  end  of 
July,  relief  in  the  form  of  the  shjamal  (northwest  wind)  would 
come  and  once  more  make  it  possible  to  resume  operations. 

330  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 



COINCIDENT  with  the  Russian  advance  in  Armenia  and  the 
English  attempt  at  capturing  the  city  of  Bagdad  by  ad- 
vancing up  the  Tigris,  the  Russian  General  Staff  also  directed 
a  strong  attack  against  this  ancient  Arabian  city  from  the 
northeast  through  Persia. 

Before  the  Mesopotamian  plain,  in  which  Bagdad  is  situated, 
could  be  reached  from  Persia  the  mountains  along  the  Persian- 
Turkish  frontier  had  to  be  crossed,  an  undertaking  full  of  diffi- 

Just  as  in  Armenia,  here  completed  railroads  were  lacking 
entirely.  Such  roads  as  were  available  were  for  the  most  part 
in  the  poorest  possible  condition.  The  mountains  themselves 
could  be  crossed  only  at  a  few  points  through  passes  located 
at  great  height,  where  the  caravans  that  had  traveled  for  cen- 
turies and  centuries  between  Persia  and  Mesopotamia  had 
blasted  a  trail.  At  only  one  point  to  the  north  of  Bagdad 
was  there  a  break  in  the  chain  of  mountains  that  separated  Per- 
sia from  Mesopotamia.  That  was  about  one  hundred  miles 
northeast  of  Bagdad  in  the  direction  of  the  Persian  city  of 
Kermanshah.  There  one  Russian  army  was  advancing  un- 
doubtedly with  the  twofold  object  of  reaching  and  capturing 
Bagdad  and  of  submitting  the  Turkish  army  operating  in  that 
sector  to  an  attack  from  this  source  as  well  as  from  the  British 
army  advancing  along  the  Tigris.  A  Russian  success  at  this 
point  would  have  meant  practically  either  the  capture  of  all  the 
Turkish  forces  or  their  ultimate  destruction.  For  the  only  ave- 
nue of  escape  that  would  have  been  left  to  them  would  have  been 
across  the  desert  into  Syria.  And  although  there  were  a  num- 
ber of  caravan  routes  available  for  this  purpose,  it  would  have 
been  reasonably  sure  that  most  of  the  Turkish  forces  attempting 
such  a  retreat  would  have  been  lost.  For  a  modem  army  of  the 
size  operating  around  Bagdad  could  not  have  been  safely  brought 


across  the  desert  with  all  the  supplies  and  ammunition  indispen- 
sable for  its  continued  existence. 

In  order  to  prevent  the  escape  of  these  Turkish  forces  in  a 
northerly  direction  along  the  Tigris  and  the  line  of  the  projected 
but  uncompleted  part  of  the  Bagdad  railroad,  the  Russians  had 
launched  another  attack  from  the  north.  This  second  army  ad- 
vanced to  the  south  of  the  region  around  Lake  Urumiah,  a  large 
body  of  water  less  than  fifty  miles  east  of  the  Turko-Persian 
border.  This  attack  was  directed  against  another  important 
Arabian  city,  Mosul.  This  town,  too,  was  located  on  the  Tigris, 
and  on  the  line  of  the  Bagdad  railroad,  about  200  miles  north- 
west of  Bagdad. 

Still  another  Russian  attack  was  developed  by  a  third  army, 
advancing  about  halfway  between  the  other  two  army  groups 
and  striking  at  Mesopotamia  from  Persia  slightly  north  of  the 
most  easterly  point  of  the  Turkish  frontier. 

Broadly  speaking  the  Russian  attack  through  Persia  covered  a 
front  of  about  200  miles.  It  must  not  be  understood,  however, 
that  this  was  a  continuous  "front"  of  the  same  nature  as  the  front 
in  the  western  and  eastern  theaters  of  war  in  Europe.  The  unde- 
veloped condition  of  the  country  made  the  establishment  of  a  con- 
tinuous front  not  only  impossible,  but  unnecessary.  Each  of  the 
three  Russian  groups  were  working  practically  independent  of 
each  other,  except  that  their  operations  were  planned  and  exe- 
cuted in  such  a  way  that  their  respective  objectives  were  to  be 
reached  simultaneously.  Even  that  much  cooperation  was  made 
extremely  difficult,  because  of  the  lack  of  any  means  of  communi- 
cation in  a  horizontal  direction.  No  roads  worthy  of  that  name, 
parallel  to  the  Turko-Persian  frontier,  existed.  Telegraph  or  tele- 
phone lines,  of  course,  were  entirely  lacking,  except  such  as  were 
established  by  the  advancing  armies.  How  great  the  difficulties 
were  which  confronted  both  the  attacking  and  the  defending 
armies  in  this  primitive  country  can,  therefore,  readily  be  under- 
stood. They  were  still  more  increased  by  the  climatic  conditions 
which  prevail  during  the  winter  and  early  spring.  If  fighting  in 
the  comparatively  highly  developed  regions  of  the  Austro-Italian 
mountains  was  fraught  with  problems  that  at  times  seemed  al- 

332  THE   STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

most  impossible  of  solution,  what  then  must  it  have  been  in  the 
more  or  less  uncivilized  and  almost  absolutely  undeveloped  dis- 
tricts of  Persian  "Alps !"  The  difficulties  that  were  overcome,  the 
suffering  which  was  the  share  of  both  Russians  and  Turks  make 
a  story  the  full  details  of  which  will  not  be  told — if  ever  told 
at  all — for  a  long  time  to  come.  No  daily  communique,  no  vivid 
description  from  the  pen  of  famous  war  correspondents  ac- 
quaints us  of  the  details  of  the  heroic  struggle  that  for  months 
and  months  progressed  in  these  distant  regions  of  the  "near 
East."  Not  even  "letters  from  the  front"  guide  us  to  any  ex- 
tent. For  where  conditions  are  such  that  even  the  transport  of 
supplies  and  ammunition  becomes  a  problem  that  requires  con- 
stantly ingenuity  of  the  highest  degree,  the  transmission  of  mail 
becomes  a  matter  which  can  receive  consideration  only  very  oc- 
casionally. Whatever  will  be  known  for  a  long  time  to  come 
about  this  campaign  is  restricted  to  infrequent  official  state- 
ments made  by  the  Russian  and  Turkish  General  Staffs,  an- 
nouncing the  taking  of  an  important  town  on  the  crossing  of  a 
mountain  pass,  up  to  then  practically  unknown  to  the  greatest 
part  of  the  civilized  world. 

It  was  such  a  statement  from  the  Russian  General  Staff,  that 
had  announced  the  fall  of  Kermanshah  on  February  27,  1916, 
This  was  an  important  victory  for  the  southernmost  Russian 
army.  For  this  ancient  Persian  town  lies  on  the  main  caravan 
route  from  Mesopotamia  to  Teheran,  passing  over  the  high 
Zaros  range,  as  well  as  on  other  roads,  leading  to  Tabriz  in  the 
north  and  to  Kut-el-Amara  and  Basra  in  the  south.  It  brought 
this  Russian  army  within  less  than  200  miles  of  Bagdad.  To- 
ward this  goal  the  advance  now  was  pushed  steadily,  and  on 
March  1,  1916,  Petrograd  announced  that  the  pursuit  of  the 
enemy  to  the  west  of  Kermanshah  continued  and  had  yielded  the 
capture  of  two  more  guns.  The  next  important  success  gained  by 
the  Russians  was  announced  on  March  12, 1916,  when  the  town  of 
Kerind  was  occupied.  This  town,  too,  is  located  on  the  road  to 
Bagdad  and  its  occupation  represented  a  Russian  advance  of 
about  fifty  miles  in  less  than  two  weeks,  no  mean  accomplish- 
ment in  the  face  of  a  fairly  determined  resistance. 




334  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

On  March  22,  1916,  it  was  officially  announced  that  a  Russian 
column,  advancing  from  Teheran,  to  the  south,  had  reached  and 
occupied  Ispaha,  the  ancient  Persian  capital  in  central  Persia, 
This,  of  course,  had  no  direct  bearing  on  the  Russian  advance 
against  Mosul  and  Bagdad,  except  that  it  increased  Russian  in- 
fluence in  Persia  and  by  that  much  strengthened  the  position 
and  security  of  any  Russian  troops  operating  anywhere  else 
in  that  country. 

Fighting  between  the  northernmost  Russian  army  and  detach- 
ments of  Turks  and  Kurds  was  reported  on  March  24,  1916, 
in  the  region  south  of  Lake  Urumiah.  Throughout  the  balance 
of  March,  1916,  and  during  April,  1916,  similar  engagements 
took  place  continuously  in  this  sector.  On  the  Turkish  side  both 
regular  infantry  and  detachments  of  Kurds  opposed  the  Russian 
advance  in  the  direction  of  Mosul  and  the  Tigris.  Russian  suc- 
cesses were  announced  officially  on  April  10  and  12,  1916,  and 
again  on  May  3,  1916. 

In  the  meantime  the  advance  toward  Bagdad  also  progressed. 
On  May  1, 1916,  the  Russians  captured  some  Turkish  guns  and  a 
number  of  ammunition  wagons  to  the  west  of  Kerind.  On  May 
6,  1916,  a  Turkish  fortified  position  in  the  same  locality  was 
taken  by  storm  and  a  considerable  quantity  of  supplies  were 

Up  to  this  time  the  Russian  reports  were  more  or  less  in- 
definite, announcing  simply  from  time  to  time  progress  of  the  ad- 
vance in  the  direction  of  Bagdad.  From  Kerind,  captured  early 
in  March,  1916,  two  roads  lead  into  Mesopotamia,  one  by  way 
of  Mendeli,  and  another  more  circuitous,  but  more  frequented 
and,  therefore,  in  better  condition,  by  way  of  Khanikin.  Not 
until  May  10,  1916,  did  it  become  apparent  that  the  Russians  had 
chosen  the  latter.  On  that  day  they  announced  the  occupation  of 
the  town  of  Kasr-i-Shirin,  about  twenty  miles  from  the  Turkish 
border,  between  Kerind  and  Khanikin.  Not  only  were  the  Rus- 
sian forces  now  within  110  miles  of  Bagdad — an  advance  of 
forty-five  miles  since  the  capture  of  Kerind — ^but  they  were  also 
getting  gradually  out  of  the  mountains  into  the  Mesopotamian 
plain.  At  Kasr-i-Shirin,  they  took  important  Turkish  munition 


reserves,  comprising  several  hundred  thousand  cartridges,  many 
shells  and  hand  grenades,  telegraph  material,  and  a  camel  supply 
convoy  laden  with  biscuits,  rice,  and  sugar. 

Five  days  later,  on  May  15,  1916,  another  important  Russian 
success  was  announced,  this  time  further  north.  The  Russian 
forces  that  had  been  fighting  for  a  long  time  ever  since  the  early 
part  of  1915  to  the  south  of  Lake  Urumiah,  and  whose  progress 
in  the  direction  of  Mosul  was  reported  at  long  intervals,  were 
now  reported  to  have  reached  the  Turkish  town  of  Rowandiz. 
This  represented  an  advance  of  over  100  miles  from  the  town 
of  Urumiah  and  carried  the  Russian  troops  some  twenty-five 
miles  across  the  frontier  into  the  Turkish  province  of  Mosul. 
Rowandiz  is  about  100  miles  east  of  Mosul,  and  in  order  to  reach 
it  it  was  necessary  for  the  Russian  forces  to  cross  the  formidable 
range  of  mountains  that  runs  along  the  Turko-Persian  border 
and  reaches  practically  its  entire  length,  a  height  of  8,000  to 
10,000  feet. 



ON  the  last  day  of  May,  1916,  the  Turks  scored  their  first  sub- 
stantial success  against  the  Russians  since  the  fall  of  Erzerum. 
Having  received  reenforcements,  the  Turkish  center  assumed  the 
offensive  between  the  Armenian  Taurus  and  Baiburt  and  forced 
the  Russians  to  evacuate  Mama  Khatun.  This  was  followed  by 
a  withdrawal  of  the  Russian  lines  in  that  region  for  a  distance 
of  about  ten  miles. 

For  the  next  few  days  the  Turks  were  able  to  maintain  their 
new  offensive  in  full  strength.  The  center  of  the  Russian  right 
wing  was  forced  back  continuously  until  it  had  reached  a  line 
almost  twenty-five  miles  east  of  its  former  positions. 

In  the  south,  too,  the  Turkish  forces  scored  some  successes 
against  the  Russian  troops,  who  had  been  pushing  toward  the 

.    V— WarSt.& 

336  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

Tigris  Valley  from  the  mountains  along  the  Persian  border.  On 
June  8,  1916,  Turkish  detachments  even  succeeded  in  crossing 
the  border  and  occupied  Kasr-i-Shirin,  just  across  the  frontier  in 
Persia.  By  June  10,  1916,  these  troops  had  advanced  sixteen 
miles  farther  east  and  fought  slight  engagements  with  Russian 
cavalry  near  the  villages  of  Serpul  and  Zehab. 

In  the  north  the  Turkish  advance  continued  likewise.  An 
important  engagement  between  Turkish  troops  and  a  strong  Rus- 
sian cavalry  force  occurred  on  June  12,  1916,  east  of  the  village 
of  Amachien  and  terminated  in  favor  of  the  Turks. 

Fighting  continued  throughout  the  balance  of  June,  1916,  all 
along  the  Turko-Russian  front  from  Trebizond  down  to  the  Per- 
sian border  northeast  of  Bagdad.  At  some  points  the  Russians 
assumed  the  offensive,  but  were  unable  to  make  any  impression 
on  the  Turks,  who  continued  to  push  back  the  invader  and,  by 
quickly  fortifying  their  newly  gained  positions,  succeeded  in 
maintaining  them  against  all  counterattacks. 

By  June  30,  1916,  Kermanshah  in  Persia,  about  100  miles 
across  the  border,  was  seriously  threatened.  On  that  day  Rus- 
sian forces,  which  retreated  east  of  Serai,  could  not  maintain 
their  positions  near  Kerind,  owing  to  vigorous  pursuit.  Russian 
rear  guards  west  of  Kerind  were  driven  off.  Turkish  troops  pass- 
ing through  Kerind  pursued  the  Russians  in  the  direction  of 

On  July  5,  1916,  Kermanshah  was  occupied  by  the  Turkish 
troops  after  a  battle  west  of  the  town  which  lasted  all  day  and 
night.  The  first  attempt  of  the  Russians  to  prevent  the  capture 
of  the  city  was  made  at  Mahidesst,  west  of  Kermanshah.  Here  the 
Russians  had  hastily  constructed  fortifications,  but  the  Turks,  by 
a  swift  encircling  move,  made  their  position  untenable  and  forced 
them  to  retreat  farther  east.  A  strong  Russian  rear  guard  de- 
fended the  village  for  one  day  and  then  followed  the  main  body 
to  a  series  of  previously  prepared  positions  just  west  of  the  city. 
Here  a  terrific  battle  lasting  all  day  and  all  night  was  waged,  and 
resulted  in  the  retreat  of  the  Russians  to  Kermanshah.  Three 
detachments  of  Turks,  almost  at  the  heels  of  the  Muscovites, 
drove  them  out  before  they  could  make  another  stand. 


On  July  9, 1916,  Turkish  reconnoitering  forces  came  in  contact 
with  the  Russians  who  were  ejected  from  Kermanshah  at  a  point 
fifteen  miles  east  of  the  city,  while  they  were  on  their  way  to 
join  their  main  forces.  After  a  fight  of  seven  hours  the  Rus- 
sians were  compelled  to  flee  to  Sineh. 

By  this  time,  however,  the  Russians  had  recovered  their  breath 
in  the  Caucasus.  On  July  12,  1916,  they  recaptured  by  assault 
the  town  of  Mama  Khatun.  The  next  day,  after  a  violent  night 
battle,  they  occupied  a  series  of  heights  southeast  of  Mama 
Khatun.  The  Turks  attempted  to  take  the  offensive,  but  were 
thrown  back.  Pressing  closely  upon  them,  the  Russians  took  the 
villages  of  Djetjeti  and  Almali. 

The  Russian  offensive  quickly  assumed  great  strength.  By 
July  14,  1916,  the  Russians  were  only  ten  miles  from  Baiburt, 
had  again  taken  up  their  drive  for  Erzingan  and  had  wrested 
from  the  Turks  some  strongly  fortified  positions  southwest  of 

Baiburt  fell  to  the  Russians  on  July  15,  1916.  From  then  on 
the  Russian  advance  continued  steadily,  although  the  Turks  main- 
tained a  stiff  resistance. 

On  July  18,  1916,  the  Russians  occupied  the  town  of  Kugi, 
an  important  junction  of  roads  from  Erzerum,  Lhaputi  and 
Khzindjtna.  On  July  20,  1916,  the  Grand  Duke's  troops  captured 
the  town  of  Gumuskhaneh,  forty-five  miles  southwest  of  Trebi- 

The  next  day,  July  21,  1916,  these  forces  had  advanced  to  and 
occupied  Ardas,  about  thirteen  miles  northwest  of  Gumus- 
khaneh. The  West  Euphrates  was  crossed  the  following  day. 
On  July  23,  1916,  Russian  troops  on  the  Erzingan  route,  in  the 
Ziaret  Tapasi  district,  repulsed  two  Turkish  counterattacks  and 
occupied  the  heights  of  Naglika. 

East  of  the  Erzingan  route  they  captured  a  Turkish  line  on 
the  Durum  Darasi  River.  After  having  repulsed  several  Turkish 
attacks  Russian  cavalry  has  reached  the  line  of  Boz-Tapa- 

Closer  and  closer  the  Russians  approached  to  the  goal  for 
which  they  had  striven  for  many  months,  Erzingan.  On  July  25, 




1916,  this  strongly  fortified  Turkish  city  in  Central  Armenia, 
fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Russian  Caucasus  army  under  Grand 
Duke  Nicholas. 

Erzingan,  situated  at  an  altitude  of  3,900  feet,  about  one  mile 
from  the  right  bank  of  the  Euphrates,  manufactures  silk  and 
cotton  and  lies  in  a  highly  productive  plain,  which  automatically 
comes  into  possession  of  the  Russians.  Wheat,  fruit,  wines,  and 
cotton  are  grown  in  large  quantities,  and  there  are  also  iron 
and  hot  sulphur  springs.  With  its  barracks  and  military  fac- 
tories, the  city  formed  an  important  army  base. 

Erzingan  has  frequently  figured  in  ancient  history.  It  was 
here  that  the  Sultan  of  Rum  was  defeated  by  the  Mongols  in 
1243,  and  in  the  fourth  century  St.  Gregory,  "the  Illuminator," 
lived  in  the  city.  Erzingan  was  added  to  the  Osman  Empire  in 
1473  by  Mohammed  II,  after  it  had  been  held  by  Mongols,  Tar- 
tars, and  Turkomans. 

With  the  capture  of  Erzingan  the  Russians  not  only  removed 
the  strongest  obstacle  on  the  road  to  Sivas,  Angora,  and  Con- 
stantinople, but  also  virtually  completed  their  occupation  of 
Turkish  Armenia. 

Throughout  the  Russian  advance,  considerable  fighting  had 
occurred  in  the  region  of  Mush,  which,  however,  resulted  in  no 
important  changes.  The  main  object  of  the  Russian  attacks  there 
was  to  hold  as  large  a  Turkish  force  as  possible  from  any  possi- 
ble attempt  to  relieve  the  pressure  on  Erzingan. 

In  the  south,  near  the  Persian  border  at  Roanduz,  and  in 
Persia,  near  Kermanshah,  there  were  no  important  developments 
after  the  fall  of  Kermanshah.  Considerable  fighting,  however, 
went  on  in  both  of  these  sectors  without  changing  in  any  way  the 
general  situation. 




IN  another  part  of  this  work  we  have  followed  the  intense 
struggle  that  marked  the  German  assault  that  began  on 
February  21,  1916,  and  continued  without  cessation  for  four 
days  and  nights.  Despite  the  tremendous  force  employed  by  the 
Germans  and  the  destruction  wrought  by  their  guns,  the  French 
by  incessant  counterattacks  had  held  back  their  opponents  and, 
by  depriving  them  of  the  advantage  of  surprise,  had  undoubtedly 
saved  Verdun  for  the  Allies.  Though  losing  heavily  in  men  and 
material,  they  held  the  Bras-Douaumont  front  until  they  could 
be  relieved  by  fresh  forces.  The  German  advance  was  stayed 
on  the  night  of  the  24th. 

In  the  morning  of  February  25,  1916,  the  Germans  succeeded 
in  penetrating  Louvemont,  now  reduced  to  ruins  by  fire  and  shell. 
Douaumont  village  to  the  right  seemed  in  imminent  danger  of 
being  captured  by  the  Germans,  who  were  closing  in  on  the  place. 
But  the  French  infantry  attacking  toward  the  north,  and  the 
vigorous  action  of  the  Zouaves  east  of  Haudromont  Farm,  cleared 
the  surroundings  of  the  enemy.  At  the  close  of  the  day  they 
occupied  the  village  and  a  ridge  to  the  east.  Though  they  were 
in  such  position  as  to  half  encircle  the  fort,  yet  a  body  of  Branden- 
burgers  succeeded  by  surprise  in  forcing  their  way  into  its  walls, 
from  which  subsequent  French  attacks  failed  to  dislodge  them. 

East  and  west  of  Douaumont  the  Germans  made  incessant 
efforts  to  break  through  the  new  French  front,  but  only  suc- 


RENEWAL   OF   THE    BATTLE    OF   VERDUN      341 

ceeded  in  gaining  a  foothold  in  Hardaumont  work.  Douaumont 
village  was  attacked  with  fresh  forces  and  abundant  material  on 
the  morning  of  the  27th.  The  struggle  here  was  marked  by 
hand-to-hand  fighting  and  bayonet  charges  in  which  the  Germans 
were  clearly  at  a  disadvantage.  They  won  a  French  redoubt  on 
the  west  side  of  Douaumont  Fort,  but  after  an  intense  struggle 
were  forced  out  and  retreated,  leaving  heaps  of  dead  on  the 

Douaumont  became  again  the  center  of  German  attack,  and 
though  driven  off  with  terrible  losses,  they  brought  up  fresh 
troops  and  renewed  the  fray.  Advances  were  pushed  with  reck- 
less bravery,  but  in  vain,  for  their  forces  were  shattered  before 
they  could  reach  the  French  positions.  Their  losses  in  men  must 
have  been  enormous,  and  for  two  days  no  further  attacks  were 
made.  The  French  knew  that  they  had  not  accepted  defeat  and 
were  only  reorganizing  their  forces  for  a  fresh  onslaught.  On 
March  2,  1916,  the  Germans  renewed  the  bombardment,  smoth- 
ering the  village  under  an  avalanche  of  shells.  Believing  that 
this  time  the  way  was  clear  to  advance,  they  rushed  for- 
ward in  almost  solid  ranks.  French  machine-gun  and  rifle 
fire  cut  great  gaps  in  the  advancing  waves,  but  this  time  the 
brave  defenders  could  not  hold  them  back,  and  Douaumont  was 

The  Germans  occupied  the  place,  but  they  were  not  permitted 
to  leave  it,  for  the  French  infantry  were  posted  only  a  hundred 
yards  away  and  every  exit  was  under  their  fire. 

On  the  day  following,  the  3d,  the  French,  after  bombarding 
the  ruins  of  Douaumont  and  working  havoc  in  the  ranks  of  the 
enemy,  rushed  two  battalions  during  the  night  against  the  Ger- 
man barricades,  and  after  a  stubborn  fight  occupied  the  place. 
But  their  victory  was  short  lived.  Before  dawn  the  Germans, 
attacking  with  large  reenforcements,  after  four  or  five  hours  of 
intense  and  murderous  struggle,  again  occupied  the  village.  The 
French,  somewhat  shattered  in  numbers  but  by  no  means  dis- 
couraged, fell  back  some  two  hundred  yards  to  the  rear,  where 
they  proceeded  to  reestablish  their  line  and  there  await  their 
opportunity  to  strike  again. 

842  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

Some  idea  of  the  great  courage  and  devotion  displayed  by  the 
French  troops  during  the  intense  struggle  around  Douaumont 
village  may  be  gained  from  the  statement  made  by  an  infantry 
officer  which  appeared  in  the  Army  Bulletin,  and  from  which 
some  quotations  may  be  made. 

The  Germans  on  March  2,  1916,  at  3.15  a.  m.  had  attacked  the 
village  simultaneously  from  the  north  by  a  ravine  and  on  the 
flank,  where  they  debouched  from  the  fort,  and  certain  covered 
positions  which  the  French  had  not  had  time  to  reconnoiter. 

'The  Germans  we  saw  first  were  "those  who  came  from  the 
fort.    They  were  wearing  French  helmets,  and  for  a  moment 

our  men  seemed  uncertain  as  to  their  identity.     Major  C 

called  out:  'Don't  fire!  They  are  French.'  The  words  were 
hardly  out  of  his  mouth  before  he  fell  with  a  bullet  in  his  neck. 
This  German  trick  made  us  furious,  and  the  adjutant  cried :  'Fire 
for  all  you're  worth !  They  are  Germans !'  But  the  enemy  con^ 
tinued  his  encircling  movement  with  a  view  to  taking  the  village 

"The  battalion  which  was  charged  with  its  defense  had  lost 
very  heavily  in  the  bombardment,  and  most  of  its  machine  guns 
were  out  of  action,  but  they  were  resolved  to  make  any  sacrifice 
to  fulfill  their  trust.  When  their  left  was  very  seriously  threat- 
ened, the  Tenth  Company  made  a  glorious  charge  straight  into 
the  thick  of  the  oncoming  German  masses.  The  hand-to-hand 
struggle  was  of  the  fiercest  description,  and  French  bayonets 
wrought  deadly  havoc  among  the  German  ranks.  This  company 
went  on  fighting  until  it  was  at  length  completely  submerged  in 
the  flood,  and  the  last  we  saw  of  it  was  a  handful  of  desperate 
heroes  seeking  death  in  the  heart  of  the  struggle." 

An  attempt  at  this  time  was  made  by  the  Germans  to  debouch 
from  Douaumont  village  on  the  southwestern  side,  with  the 
evident  purpose  of  forcing  their  way  to  the  top  of  the  crest  in 
the  direction  of  Thiaumont  Farm. 

'The  commander  of  the  Third  Company,"  to  continue  the 
French  officer's  narrative,  "immediately  made  his  dispositions 
to  arrest  their  progress.  A  machine  gun  was  cleverly  placed  and 
got  to  work.  In  a  short  time  the  hundred  or  so  of  Germans  that 
had  got  through  were  so  vigorously  peppered  that  only  about 



O       lO       20     30      4K>     50  75 

BATTLE     FRONT    AU6U&T  I  5.  19  16 


344  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

twenty  of  them  got  back.  This  gun  was  in  action  until  nightfall, 
dealing  with  successive  German  parties  that  attempted  to  ad- 
vance from  the  western  and  southwestern  sides  of  the  village.** 

After  describing  how  the  French  built  barricades  during  the 
night  and  adjusted  their  front  in  such  a  way  as  to  present  a 
solid  wall  facing  the  east,  the  narrator  continues : 

"Our  counterattack  took  place  at  nightfall  on  March  3,  and 
was  undertaken  by  two  battalions  (the  Four  Hundred  and  Tenth 
and  the  Four  Hundred  and  Fourteenth)  of  consecutive  regiments. 
After  an  intense  rifle  fire  we  heard  the  cry  of  'Forward  with  the 
bayonet!*  and  night  rang  with  the  shouts  of  the  men.  Our  first 
line  was  carried  beyond  the  village. 

"The  Germans  returned  to  the  attack  about  8  o'clock,  but  were 
stopped  dead  by  our  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  Two  hours  later 
another  attack  was  attempted,  but  was  likewise  dashed  to  pieces 
before  our  unshaken  resistance.  The  Germans  came  on  in  very 
close  formation,  and  on  the  following  morning  we  counted  quite 
eight  hundred  dead  before  the  trench. 

"At  daybreak  on  March  4  the  Germans  launched  a  fresh 
counterattack  against  Douaumont  after  an  intense  bombardment 
accompanied  by  the  use  of  aerial  torpedoes.  No  detailed  descrip- 
tion is  possible  of  the  terrible  fighting  from  house  to  house,  or 
the  countless  deeds  of  heroism  performed  by  our  men  in  this 
bloody  struggle,  which  lasted  for  two  hours.  The  gaps  in  our 
ranks  increased  from  moment  to  moment.  Finally  we  were 
ordered  to  retire  to  a  position  about  200  meters  south  of  the 
exit  from  Douaumont.  The  enemy  tried  in  vain  to  dislodge  us 
and  exploit  the  success  he  had  so  dearly  won.** 

On  March  4,  1916,  an  Order  of  the  Day  issued  by  the  crown 
prince  was  read  to  the  troops  in  rest  billets  in  which  they  were 
urged  to  make  a  supreme  effort  to  conquer  Verdun,  "the  heart 
of  France.**  For  four  days  following  the  German  command  was 
busy  organizing  for  an  onslaught  on  a  gigantic  scale,  which  they 
hoped  would  so  crush  the  French  army  as  to  eliminate  it  as  a 
serious  factor  in  the  war. 

In  order  to  clear  the  way  for  this  great  attack  the  German 
General  Staff  decided  that  it  would  be  necessary  first  to  capture 

RENEWAL    OF    THE    BATTLE    OF    VERDUN      345 

the  French  positions  of  Mort  Homme  and  Cumieres  on  the  left 
bank  of  the  Meuse. 

At  this  time  the  French  line  to  the  west  of  the  Meuse  ran  by 
the  village  of  Forges,  the  hills  above  Bethincourt  and  Malan- 
court,  crossed  Malancourt  Wood  and  passed  in  front  of  Avo- 
court.  The  Germans  held  positions  on  the  heights  of  Samogneux 
and  Champneuville,  and  their  operations  were  threatened  by 
the  French  artillery  in  the  line  west  of  the  river. 

On  March  6,  1916,  the  Germans  began  to  bombard  the  French 
positions  from  the  Meuse  to  Bethincourt.  They  pursued  their 
usual  methods,  smashing  a  selected  sector,  demolishing  advance 
works,  and  keeping  a  curtain  fire  over  roads  and  trenches.  The 
village  of  Forges  during  the  first  half  of  the  day  of  attack  was 
literally  covered  with  shells.  Crossing  the  Forges  Brook,  which 
ran  through  a  ravine,  and  where  they  were  protected  from 
French  artillery  fire,  the  Germans  advanced  along  the  northern 
slopes  of  the  Cote  de  TOie.  Following  the  railway  line  through 
Regneville,  at  all  times  under  heavy  fire  from  French  guns, 
they  attacked  Hill  265  on  the  7th.  An  entire  division  was 
employed  by  the  Germans  in  this  assault,  and  the  French,  over- 
whelmed by  weight  of  men  and  metal,  were  forced  out  of  the 

In  the  morning  of  March  7,  1916,  the  Germans  began  a  furious 
bombardment  of  Corbeaux  Wood.  At  first  the  French  enjoyed 
every  advantage,  for  though  the  Germans  had  penetrated  the 
position,  the  French  by  a  dashing  attack  occupied  almost  the 
whole  of  the  wood.  A  mass  attack  made  by  the  Germans  against 
Bethincourt  having  failed,  they  counterattacked  at  Corbeaux 
Wood,  during  which  their  force  was  almost  annihilated.  By 
evening  of  March  8,  1916,  the  French  had  recovered  all  the  wood 
but  a  small  corner. 

The  Germans  were  persistent  in  their  attempts  to  gain  the 
wood,  despite  many  failures  and  heavy  losses.  On  the  10th,  after 
being  reenforced,  they  threw  three  regiments  against  the  wood. 
The  French  defense  was  broken  when  they  lost  their  colonel  and 
battalion  commanders  during  the  opening  bombardment.  The 
brave  defenders,  badly  hit,  were  forced  to  yield  ground  and 


THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT    WAR 

t Jy JOB 

RENEWAL    OF    THE    BATTLE    OF   VERDUN      347 

retire,  but  they  held  the  enemy  in  the  wood,  thus  preventing 
him  from  advancing  on  Mort  Homme,  the  next  objective. 

This  is  a  double  hill,  having  a  summit  of  265  meters  at  the 
northwest  and  the  main  summit  of  295  meters  at  the  southeast. 
The  road  from  Bethincourt  to  Cumieres  scales  Hill  265  and 
divides  it  in  two.  When  it  reaches  Hill  295  it  encircles  it  and 
bends  toward  the  northeast. 

After  a  lull  that  lasted  for  four  days  the  Germans  at  half  past 
10  in  the  morning  began  a  terrific  bombardment  to  capture 
Bethincourt,  the  Mort  Homme,  and  Cumieres.  In  this  they  em- 
ployed a  great  number  of  heavy  guns,  and  all  the  points  of 
attack  and  the  region  around  was  flooded  with  shells  of  every 
variety.  They  were  said  to  have  fallen  at'  the  rate  of  one 
hundred  and  twenty  a  minute. 

In  the  afternoon  about  3  o'clock  the  German  infantry  attacked. 
They  succeeded  in  capturing  the  first  French  line,  where  many 
soldiers  had  fallen  half  asphyxiated  by  the  gas  shells,  or  were 
buried  under  the  debris.  Hill  265  was  occupied,  but  the  highest 
summit,  owing  to  the  valor  of  its  defenders,  remained  in  French 
hands.  During  the  night  the  French  succeeded  in  stemming  the 
German  advance  by  executing  a  brilliant  counterattack  which 
carried  them  to  the  slope  between  Hill  295  and  Bethincourt, 
where  they  came  in  touch  with  the  enemy. 

The  French  at  once  proceeded  by  daring  efforts  to  improve 
their  positions,  and  were  so  successful  that  when  during  the 
16th  and  18th  the  Germans  after  prolonged  bombardments 
resumed  their  attack  on  Hill  295  they  were  repulsed  with 
appalling  losses. 

Having  failed  to  capture  Mort  Homme  from  the  front,  the 
Germans  now  attempted  to  outflank  it.  They  enlarged  the 
attacking  front  in  the  sector  of  Malancourt  and  tried  to  take 
Hill  304.  In  order  to  do  this  it  was  necessary  for  them  to 
take  the  southeastern  point  of  the  Avocourt  Wood  which  was 
held  by  the  French.  On  March  20,  1916,  the  crown  prince  threw 
a  fresh  division  against  these  woods,  the  Eleventh  Bavarian, 
belonging  to  a  selected  corps  that  had  seen  service  in  the  Galician 
and  Polish  campaigns  with  Mackensen's  army.     This  division 

348  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

launched  a  number  of  violent  attacks,  making  use  of  flame 
throwers.  They  succeeded  in  capturing  Avocourt  Wood,  but  in 
the  advance  on  Hill  304  they  were  caught  between  two  converg- 
ing fires  and  suffered  the  most  appalling  losses.  According  to  the 
figures  given  by  a  neutral  military  critic,  Colonel  Feyler,  between 
March  20  and  22,  1916,  the  three  regiments  of  this  division 
lost  between  50  and  60  per  cent  of  their  number. 

This  decisive  result  had  the  effect  of  stopping  for  the  time  at 
least  any  further  attacks  by  the  Germans  in  this  sector.  A  period 
of  calm  ensued,  which  they  employed  in  bringing  up  fresh  troops 
and  in  reconstituting  their  units.  Their  costly  sacrifices  in  men 
and  material  had  brought  them  little  gain.  They  had  advanced 
their  line  to  Bethincourt  and  Cumieres,  but  the  objective  they 
had  been  so  eager  to  capture,  Mort  Homme,  was  in  French  pos- 
session, and  so  strongly  held  that  it  could  only  be  captured  at 
an  exceedingly  heavy  price. 


THE     STRUGGLE      FOR     VAUX     FORT     AND     VIL- 

ON  the  right  bank  of  the  Meuse  the  Germans  on  March  8,  1916, 
resumed  their  offensive  against  the  French  lines  to  the  east 
of  Douaumont  Fort.  The  advance  was  rapidly  carried  out,  and 
they  succeeded  in  penetrating  Vaux  village.  A  little  later  by  a 
dashing  bayonet  charge  the  French  drove  them  out  of  the  greater 
part  of  the  place  except  one  comer,  where  they  held  on  deter- 
minedly despite  the  furious  attacks  that  were  launched  against 
them  all  day  long.  Vaux  Fort  had  not  been  included  in  this 
action,  or  indeed  touched,  yet  a  German  communique  of  March 
9,  1916,  announced  that  "the  Posen  Reserve  Regiments  com- 
manded by  the  infantry  general  Von  Gearetzki-Kornitz  had 
taken  the  armored  fortress  of  Vaux  by  assault,  as  well  as  many 
other  fortifications  near  by." 


At  the  very  hour,  2  p.  m.,  that  this  telegram  appeared  an 
officer  of  the  French  General  Staff  entered  the  fort  and  dis- 
covered that  it  had  not  been  attacked  at  all,  and  that  the  garri- 
son were  on  duty  and  quite  undisturbed  by  the  bombardment 
storming  about  the  walls. 

During  the  following  days  the  Germans  attempted  to  make 
good  the  false  report  of  their  capture  of  the  fort  by  launching 
a  series  of  close  attacks.  The  slopes  leading  to  the  fort  were 
piled  with  German  dead.  According  to  what  German  prisoners 
said,  these  attacks  were  among  the  costliest  they  had  engaged 
in  during  the  entire  campaign.  It  was  necessary  for  them  to 
bring  up  fresh  troops  to  reconstitute  their  shattered  units. 

At  daybreak  on  March  11,  1916,  the  Germans  renewed  their 
attack  on  Vaux  village  with  desperate  energy.  The  French  had 
had  time  to  fortify  the  place  in  the  most  ingenious  manner.  The 
defense  was  so  admirably  organized  that  it  merits  detailed  de- 
scription, if  only  to  illustrate  that  the  French  are  not  inferior  to 
the  Germans  in  ''thoroughness*'  in  military  matters. 

The  French  trenches  ran  from  the  end  of  the  main  street  of 
the  village  to  the  church.  Barricades  had  been  constructed  at 
the  foot  of  Hardaumont  Hill  at  intervals  of  about  a  hundred 
yards.  Around  the  ruined  walls  of  the  houses  barbed  wire 
was  strongly  wound  and  the  street  was  mined  in  a  number 
of  places.  The  houses  on  the  two  flanks  were  heavily  fortified 
with  sandbags,  while  numerous  machine  guns  with  steel  shields 
were  set  up  in  positions  where  they  could  command  all  the 
approaches.  Batteries  of  mountain  guns  firing  shrapnel  were 
also  cunningly  hidden  in  places  where  they  could  work  the 
greatest  destruction. 

The  French  had  so  skillfully  planned  the  defenses  that  the 
Germans  twice  fought  their  way  up  and  back  the  length  of  the 
main  street  without  discovering  the  chief  centers  of  resistance. 

For  nine  hours  the  German  bombardment  of  Vaux  Fort  and 
village  was  prolonged.  Enormous  aerial  torpedoes  were  hurled 
into  the  ruined  houses,  but  in  the  chaos  of  dust  and  flame  and 
smoke  the  French  held  fast,  and  not  a  position  of  any  importance 
within  the  village  or  its  surroundings  was  abandoned. 

850  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  first  regiments  to  attack  were  drawn  from  the  Fifteenth 
and  Eighteenth  German  Army  Corps.  At  daybreak,  when  the 
German  hosts  debouched  from  the  plain  of  the  Woevre,  there 
was  a  heavy  white  mist  which  enabled  them  to  reach  the  French 
trenches.  Owing  to  the  enemy's  superiority  in  numbers,  and 
fearing  that  they  might  be  surrounded,  the  French  retired  from 
their  first  positions.  The  Germans  pushed  their  way  as  far  as 
the  church,  losing  heavily,  and  could  go  no  farther.  They  found 
some  shelter  behind  the  ruined  walls  of  the  church  and  neigh- 
boring houses.  Each  time  that  they  attempted  to  leave  the  pro- 
tective walls  the  French  guns  smashed  their  ranks  and  slew 

When  the  mist  vanished  and  the  air  cleared,  the  French  bat- 
teries of  75's  and  155*s  opened  a  heavy  fire  on  and  behind  the 
foremost  German  regiments,  which  not  only  cut  gaps  in  their 
formations,  but  shut  them  off  from  any  help.  The  German  com- 
manders were  in  a  desperate  state  of  mind,  for  they  could  not 
send  either  men  or  ammunition  to  the  relief  of  the  troops  under 
fire.  The  Germans  did  not  start  any  new  attacks  after  that  for 
a  day  and  a  half,  although  their  artillery  continued  active. 

Vaux  Fort  the  Germans  claimed  to  have  captured,  when  after 
four  days  of  the  bloodiest  fighting  they  had  not  succeeded  in 
reaching  even  the  entanglements  around  the  position. 

The  struggle  in  the  village  was  of  the  most  desperate  char- 
acter, but  while  it  lasted  there  was  no  more  terrible  fighting 
during  the  Verdun  battle  than  that  which  raged  back  and  forth 
on  the  outskirts  of  the  fort.  French  officers  from  their  com- 
manding positions  on  the  neighboring  heights  afterward  testified 
that  they  had  never  seen  the  German  command  so  recklessly  and 
wantonly  sacrifice  their  men.  Column  after  column  was  sent 
forward  to  certain  death.  Giant  shells  hurled  by  the  French 
burst  in  the  midst  of  the  exposed  German  battalions,  and  the 
dead  were  piled  in  heaps  over  acres  of  ground. 

While  this  slaughter  was  going  on  the  German  artillery  was 
trying  to  destroy  the  French  batteries  on  the  plateau,  but  being 
cunningly  concealed  few  were  silenced.  The  French  freely 
acknowledged  the  great  bravery  displayed  by  the  Germans,  who, 


iiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiii I nil Illllll I iiiiiiiiiiitii Illlllllll Illllll Illlllllll I iiiiiiiiiiiiii null iiiliiiliiiiilillii: 

BATTLE    OF   MORT    HOMME  351 

after  gaining  the  foot  of  the  slope,  fought  splendidly  for  an 
hour  to  get  up  to  the  fort.  Then  reserve  Bavarian  troops  were 
brought  forward  and  endeavored  to  climb  the  slopes  by  clinging 
to  rocks  and  bushes.  Many  lost  their  foothold,  or  were  struck 
down  under  the  rain  of  shells.  At  last  even  the  German  com- 
mand sickened  of  the  slaughter  and  ordered  a  retreat. 

It  was  an  especially  bitter  fact  to  the  Germans  that  they  had 
incurred  such  great  losses  without  gaining  any  advantage.  The 
French  positions  before  the  fort  and  in  Vaux  village  remained 
intact,  and  the  enemy  had  failed  utterly  in  their  attempts  to 
pierce  the  Vaux-Douaumont  line. 

After  some  days'  pause  for  reorganization,  on  March  16,  1916, 
the  Germans  made  five  attacks  on  the  village  and  fortress  of 
Vaux.  After  a  bombardment  by  thousands  of  shells  they  must 
have  believed  that  their  opponents  would  be  crushed,  if  not 
utterly  annihilated.  But  the  French  soldiers  clung  stubbornly 
to  the  shell-ravaged  ground,  and  though  sadly  reduced  in  num- 
bers, held  their  positions  and  flung  back  five  times  the  German 

Two  days  later,  on  the  18th,  the  Germans  resumed  their 
offensive,  and  no  less  than  six  attacks  were  made,  in  which  flame 
projectors  were  freely  used  and  every  effort  made  to  smash  the 
stubborn  defense.  But  the  French  wall  of  iron  held  firm,  and  in 
every  instance  the  Germans  were  beaten  back  with  colossal 
losses.  Again  they  were  compelled  to  pause  and  reorganize  their 
lines.  The  calm  that  succeeded  the  storm  was  no  less  welcome 
to  the  French  defenders  in  this  sector,  for  they  too  had  been  hit 
hard,  and  it  was  questionable  if  they  could  have  held  their  posi- 
tions against  another  strong  attack. 

Attacks  on  the  sector  north  of  Verdun  having  failed,  the 
G^ermans  began  on  March  20,  1916,  and  continued  during  suc- 
ceeding days  to  turn  the  French  by  their  (German)  right  in  the 
.Vlalancourt  sector.  The  woods  of  Montfau^on  and  Malancourt, 
where  the  Germans  were  strongly  established,  crown  a  great 
island  of  sand  and  clay.  The  southeastern  portion  of  Malan- 
court Wood  forms  a  sort  of  promontory  known  as  Avocourt 
Wood,  and  was  the  objective  of  the  next  German  attack.    The 

W— War  St  5 




main  purpose  in  this  operation  was  to  extend  their  offensive 

On  March  20,  1916,  after  intense  bombardment  in  which  their 
heaviest  guns  were  employed,  the  Germans  sent  a  new  division 
that  had  been  hurried  up  from  another  front  against  the  French 
positions  between  Avocourt  and  Malancourt.  The  attackers  were 
thrown  back  in  disorder  at  every  point  but  a  comer  of  Malan- 
court Wood.  During  the  night,  though  strongly  opposed  by  the 
French,  who  contested  every  foot  of  ground,  and  despite  heavy 
losses,  the  Germans  penetrated  and  occupied  Avocourt  "Wood, 
from  which  they  could  not  be  dislodged.  The  French  were, 
however,  in  a  position  to  prevent  them  from  leaving  the  wood, 
and  every  attempt  made  by  the  Germans  to  debouch  met  with 

On  March  22,  1916,  the  Germans  having  bombarded  through- 
out the  day,  made  a  number  of  attacks  between  Avocourt  Wood 
and  Malancourt  village.  The  French  defeated  every  effort  they 
made  to  leave  the  wood,  but  they  obtained  a  foothold  on  Hau- 
court  Hill,  where  the  French  occupied  the  redoubt. 

For  five  days  the  Germans  were  engaged  in  filling  up  their 
broken  units  with  fresh  troops  and  in  preparing  plans  of  attack. 
On  March  28,  1916,  strong  bodies  of  German  infantry  were 
thrown  against  the  French  front  at  Haucourt  and  Malancourt. 
In  numbers  they  far  outmatched  the  French  defenders,  but  they 
gained  no  advantage  and  were  thrown  back  in  disorder.  Em- 
boldened by  this  success,  the  French  on  the  29th  counterattacked 
to  recover  Avocourt  Wood,  and  occupied  the  southeast  corner, 
which  included  an  important  stronghold,  the  Avocourt  Redoubt. 

The  Germans  attacked  and  bombarded  throughout  the  day. 
Their  attempts  to  regain  the  captured  position  in  the  wood  failed, 
but  they  secured  a  foothold  on  the  northern  edge  of  the  village 
of  Malancourt. 

This  place  was  held  by  a  single  French  battalion.  It  formed  a 
salient  in  the  French  line,  and  the  Germans  appeared  to  be 
desperately  eager  to  capture  it.  In  the  night  of  March  80,  1916, 
they  launched  mass  attacks  from  three  sides  of  the  village.  The 
fighting  was  of  the  most  violent  character  and  raged  all  night 

354  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

long.  There  were  hand-to-hand  struggles  from  house  to  hous^ 
the  losses  were  heavy  on  both  sides.  Finally  the  French  were 
forced  to  evacuate,  the  place  now  a  mass  of  ruins.  They  occupied, 
however,  positions  that  commanded  the  exits  to  the  place. 

Early  in  the  evening  of  the  following  day,  the  31st,  the  Ger- 
mans launched  two  violent  attacks  on  French  positions  north- 
east of  Hill  295  in  the  Mort  Homme  sector.  Tear  shells  and 
every  variety  of  projectile  were  rained  upon  the  French  de- 
fenses. The  attacks  were  delivered  with  dash  and  vigor,  and 
in  one  instance  they  succeeded  in  penetrating  a  position.  But 
the  German  success  was  only  temporary.  The  French  rallied, 
and  fell  upon  the  intruders  in  a  counterattack  that  drove  them 
from  the  field. 

During  the  evening  and  all  night  long  the  Germans  violently 
bombarded  the  territory  between  the  wood  south  of  Haudre- 
mont  and  Vaux  village.  Twice  they  attacked  in  force.  The 
French  defeated  one  assault,  but  the  second  carried  the  Ger- 
mans into  Vaux,  where  they  occupied  the  western  portion  of 
the  place. 

On  April  2,  1916,  the  fighting  was  prolonged  throughout  the 
day.  The  Germans  employed  more  than  a  division  in  the  four 
simultaneous  attacks  they  made  on  French  positions  between 
Douaumont  Fort  and  Vaux  village.  Southeast  of  the  fort  they 
succeeded  for  a  time  in  occupying  a  portion  of  Caillette  Wood, 
but  were  subsequently  ejected. 

On  the  same  day  the  Germans  on  the  northern  bank  of  Forges 
Brook,  to  the  west  of  Verdun,  made  a  spirited  attack  on  the 
French  lines  on  the  southern  bank,  but  it  was  not  a  success,  and 
they  lost  heavily.  They  also  failed  on  the  following  day  in  an 
attack  on  Haucourt. 

During  the  night  between  March  5  and  6,  1916,  the  Germans 
attacked  two  of  the  salients  of  the  Avocourt-Bethincourt  front 
with  a  large  body  of  troops.  On  the  French  right  they  failed 
entirely,  and  suffered  heavy  losses.  In  the  center,  after  many 
costly  failures,  they  gained  a  foothold  in  Haucourt  Wood.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  French  delivered  a  strong  counterattack  from 
the  Avocourt  Redoubt  and  succeeded  in  reoccupying  a  large 

BATTLE    OF    MORT    HOMME  355 

portion  of  the  so-called  "Square  Wood*'  and  in  capturing  half  a 
hundred  prisoners. 

During  the  night  of  March,  6,  1916,  new  German  attacks  were 
launched  along  the  Bethincourt-Chattancourt  road.  Part  of  the 
French  first  line  was  occupied,  but  was  later  lost. 

On  the  7th  the  Germans  attacked  on  a  front  of  over  a  mile. 
The  assailants  lacked  neither  dash  nor  daring,  and  were  strong 
in  numbers,  but  they  were  shattered  against  the  wall  of  French 
defense  and  driven  back  with  slaughter  to  their  own  line.  At- 
tempts on  the  French  positions  south  and  east  of  Haucourt  dur- 
ing the  night  of  the  7th  failed,  except  in  the  south,  where  the 
Germans  occupied  two  small  works. 

As  a  result  of  the  fighting  between  March  30  and  April  8, 1916, 
the  Germans  had  possession  of  the  French  advanced  line  on 
Forges  Brook  and  were  in  a  position  to  strike  at  the  most  formi- 
dable line  of  French  defense,  the  Avocourt-Hill  304-Mort  Homme- 
Cumieres  front. 

The  French  General  Staff  during  this  gigantic  struggle  was 
constantly  guided  by  the  following  rule :  Make  the  Germans  pay 
dearly  for  each  of  their  advances.  When  it  was  believed  that  in 
order  to  defend  a  certain  point  too  many  sacrifices  would  have  to 
be  made,  they  evacuated  that  point.  As  soon  as  the  Germans 
took  hold  of  the  point,  however,  they  were  the  target  of  a  terrific 
fire  from  all  of  the  French  guns,  which  were  put  to  work  at  once. 
This  was  what  General  Petain,  commanding  the  Verdun  army, 
called  "the  crushing  fire." 

On  April  9,  1916,  a  general  attack  was  made  by  the  Germans 
on  the  front  between  Haucourt  and  Cumieres,  and  simultaneously 
assaults  were  delivered  north  and  west  of  Avocourt  and  in  Ma- 
lancourt  Wood  and  the  wood  near  Haudromont  Farm.  The 
struggle  for  the  possession  of  Mort  Homme  developed  into  one 
of  the  most  notable  and  important  battles  of  Verdun.  The 
attacking  front  of  the  Germans  ran  from  west  of  Avocourt  to 
beyond  the  Meuse  as  high  as  the  wood  in  the  Haudromont  Farm. 
This  general  attack,  one  of  the  most  violent  that  the  Germans 
had  made  at  Verdun,  failed  completely.  On  the  left  of  the 
French,  a  little  strip  of  land  along  the  southern  edge  of  the  Avo- 



BATTLE    OF    MORT   HOMME  357 

court  Wood  was  won,  but  in  a  dashing  counterattack  the  French 
recaptured  it.  In  the  center  the  Germans  were  repulsed  every- 
where, except  south  of  Bethincourt,  where  they  succeeded  in 
penetrating  an  advanced  work.  On  the  right  bank,  at  the  side  of 
Pepper  Hill,  the  Germans  only  gained  a  foothold  in  one  trench 
east  of  Vacherauville.  The  main  summit  of  Mort  Homme,  Hill 
295,  as  well  as  Hill  304,  the  principal  positions,  remained  firmly 
in  the  hands  of  the  French. 

A  captain  of  the  French  General  Staff,  and  who  was  an  eye- 
witness, has  described  in  a  French  publication  some  striking 
phases  of  the  fight : 

"It  is  Sunday,  and  the  sun  shines  brilliantly  above — a  real 
spring  Sunday.  The  artillery  duel  was  long  and  formidable. 
Mort  Homme  was  smoking  like  a  volcano  with  innumerable 
craters.  The  attack  took  place  about  noon.  At  the  same  time, 
from  this  same  place,  lines  of  sharpshooters  could  be  seen  be- 
tween the  Corbeaux  Wood  and  Cumieres  and  the  gradient  at  the 
east  of  Mort  Homme.  They  must  have  come  from  the  Raffecourt 
or  from  the  Forges  Mill,  through  the  covered  roads  in  the  valley- 
like depressions  in  the  ground.  It  was  the  first  wave  immedi- 
ately followed  by  heavy  columns.  Our  artillery  fire  from  the 
edge  of  Corbeaux  Wood  isolated  them.  ...  At  times  a  rocket 
appeared  in  the  air ;  the  call  to  the  cannons,  then  the  marking  of 
the  road.  The  regular  ticktack  of  the  machine  guns  and  the 
cracking  of  the  shells  were  distinctly  heard  even  among  the 
terrific  noises  of  the  bombardment. 

"The  German  barrage  fire  in  the  rear  of  our  front  lines  is  so 
frightful  that  one  must  not  dream  of  going  through  it.  Where 
will  our  reenforcements  pass?  The  inquietude  increases  when 
at  3.15  p.  m.  sharp  numerous  columns  in  disorder  regain  on 
the  run  the  wood  of  Cumieres.  What  a  wonderful  sight  is  the 
flight  of  the  enemy!  The  sun  shines  fully  on  these  small 
moving  groups.  But  our  shells  also  explode  among  them,  and 
the  groups  separate,  stop  disjointed.  They  disappear;  they 
are  lying  down.  They  get  up — ^not  all  of  them — but  do  not 
know  where  to  go,  like  pheasants  flying  haphazard  before  the 

358  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

"With  a  tenacity  that  must  be  acknowledged  the  enemy  comes 
back  to  the  charge,  but  the  new  attacks  are  less  ordinate,  less 
complete,  and  quite  weak.  Even  from  a  distance  one  feels  that 
they  cannot  succeed  as  well  as  the  first.    This  lasts  until  sunset." 

To  honor  the  French  troops  for  their  brilliant  defense  General 
Petain  issued  the  following  Order  of  the  Day : 

"April  9,  1916,  has  been  a  glorious  day  for  our  armies.  The 
furious  assaults  of  the  crown  prince's  soldiers  have  been  broken 
everywhere ;  infantry,  artillerymen,  sappers,  and  aviators  of  the 
Second  Army  have  rivaled  each  other  in  heroism.    Honor  to  all ! 

"The  Germans  will  attack  again  without  a  doubt;  let  each 
work  and  watch,  so  that  we  may  obtain  the  same  success. 

"Courage !    We  will  win  !*' 

Far  from  showing  the  effects  of  their  defeat,  the  Germans  on 
April  10,  1916,  attacked  Caillette  Wood,  but  were  repulsed. 
Further  attempts  made  in  the  course  of  the  night  to  eject  the 
French  from  the  trenches  to  the  south  of  Douaumont  also  failed. 
These  futile  assaults  by  no  means  weakened  the  Germans*  de- 
termination, and  on  March  11,  1916,  they  attacked  in  force  the 
front  between  Douaumont  and  Vaux.  At  some  points  they 
succeeded  in  penetrating  the  French  trenches,  but  were  driven 
out  by  vigorous  counterattacks. 

On  March  12,  1916,  the  French  learned  that  the  enemy  was 
making  elaborate  preparations  to  the  west  of  the  Meuse  for  a 
great  assault.  Before  the  Germans  could  make  ready  for  the 
attack  the  French  artillery  showered  their  trenches  and  con- 
centration points  with  shells,  and  the  assaulting  columns  that 
were  in  the  act  of  assembling  were  scattered  in  disorder.  The 
French  fire  was  so  intense  that  the  Germans  who  occupied  the 
first  line  of  trenches  were  unable  to  leave  them. 

Artillery  duels  continued  for  several  days,  marked  on  the  15th 
by  a  spirited  attack  made  by  the  French  on  the  German  trenches 
at  Douaumont,  during  which  they  took  several  hundred  pris- 
oners and  wrested  from  the  enemy  some  positions. 

The  German  bombardment  now  reached  the  highest  pitch  oi 
intensity,  and  the  sector  between  Bras  on  the  Meuse  and 
Douaumont  was  swept  by  a  storm  of  fire.    Poivre  (or  Pepper) 

BATTLE    OF    MORT    HOMME  359 

Hill,  Haudremont,  and  Chaufour  Wood  especially,  were  sub- 
jected to  such  destruction  that  old  landmarks  were  wiped 
out  as  by  magic,  and  the  very  face  of  nature  was  changed 
and  distorted. 

Having,  as  they  believed,  made  the  way  clear  for  advance,  the 
Germans  launched  an  attack  in  great  force.  It  was  estimated 
that  the  attacking  mass  numbered  35,000  men.  Believing  that 
their  guns  had  so  crushed  the  French  forces  that  they  would  be 
unable  to  present  any  serious  defense,  the  German  hordes  swept 
on  to  attack  on  a  front  of  about  three  miles.  Their  reception  was 
hardly  what  had  been  anticipated.  Great  ragged  gaps  were  torn 
in  their  formations  as  the  French  brought  rifles,  machine  guns, 
and  heavy  artillery  into  play.  Their  dead  lay  in  heaps  on  the 
ground,  and  along  the  whole  front  they  were  only  able  on  the 
right  to  penetrate  a  French  trench  south  of  Chaufour  Wood. 
The  greater  part  of  this  was  subsequently  won  back  by  their 
opponents  in  a  counterattack.  On  the  19th  a  German  infantry 
assault  launched  against  Eparges  failed. 

There  was  a  lull  in  the  fighting  during  most  of  the  day  of 
April  28, 1916,  but  in  the  twilight  the  Germans  attacked  at  points 
between  Douaumont  and  Vaux  and  west  of  Thiaumont,  but  were 
forced  back  by  the  French  artillery. 

During  the  following  day  the  Germans  incessantly  bombarded 
French  positions  and  made  a  futile  attack.  On  the  30th  the 
French  forces  north  of  Mort  Homme  were  on  the  offensive, 
and  carried  a  German  trench.  East  of  Mort  Homme  on  the 
Cumieres  front  on  the  same  day  they  captured  from  the  Germans 
1,000  meters  of  trenches  along  a  depth  varying  from  300  to 
600  meters. 

The  Germans  reattacked  almost  immediately  with  two  of  their 
most  famous  corps,  the  Eighteenth  and  the  Third  Branden- 
burgers,  which  had  suffered  so  severely  at  Douaumont  that  they 
had  been  relegated  to  the  rear.  It  was  estimated  by  the  neutral 
military  critic,  Colonel  Feyler,  that  the  first  of  these  corps  had 
lost  17,000  men  and  the  second  22,000.  After  the  fight  in  which 
they  had  been  so  hard  hit  the  two  corps  had  spent  seven  weeks 
resting  and  were  now  drawn  again  into  the  battle.    Both  were 

S60  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

in  action  in  the  evening  of  April  30,  1916,  the  Third  north  of 
Mort  Homme  and  the  Eighteenth  at  Cumieres. 

According  to  the  evidence  given  by  German  prisoners,  the 
Third  Corps  again  received  heavy  punishment.  Of  one  regiment, 
the  Sixty-fourth,  only  a  remnant  survived,  and  one  battalion  lost 
nearly  a  hundred  men  during  the  first  attack. 

The  Eighteenth  Corps  of  Brandenburgers  succeeded  in  pene- 
trating one  point  in  the  French  lines,  but  a  French  regiment 
rushed  the  trench  with  fixed  bayonets  and  destroyed  or  captured 
all  the  Germans  in  occupation. 

Some  futile  attempts  were  made  by  the  Germans  to  retrieve 
their  failure,  but  the  French  firmly  maintained  their  positions. 

In  the  evening  of  May  1,  1916,  the  French  again  assumed  the 
offensive  and  successfully  stormed  a  500-yard  sector  south  of 
Douaumont.  On  the  front  northwest  of  Mort  Homme,  between 
Hills  295  and  265,  the  French  made  a  brilliant  attack  in  the 
evening  of  May  3,  1916,  which  was  entirely  successful,  the  Grer- 
mans  being  pushed  back  beyond  the  line  they  had  won  early  in 
March,  1916. 

The  position  of  the  French  front  on  May  5,  1916,  was  as 
follows :  It  was  bounded  by  a  line  that  ran  through  Pepper  Hill, 
Hardaumont  Wood,  the  ravine  to  the  southwest  of  the  village  of 
Douaumont,  Douaumont  plateau  to  the  south,  and  a  few  hun- 
dred yards  from  the  fort,  the  northern  edge  of  Caillette  Wood, 
the  ravine  and  village  of  Vaux,  and  the  slopes  of  the  fortress 
of  Vaux. 

On  May  5,  1916,  this  line  vras  on  the  whole  intact.  Only  in 
one  place  had  the  Germans  gained  a  small  advance;  they  had 
captured  Vaux  village,  which  consisted  of  a  single  street,  but 
the  French  occupied  the  slopes  near  by  that  commanded  the  place. 

There  was  no  change  on  the  French  line  on  the  left  bank, 
where  the  character  of  the  ground  was  favorable  for  defense. 
For  two  months  the  French  line  had  remained  fixed  on  Hill  304 
and  on  Mort  Homme.  Only  the  covering  line,  which  extended 
from  the  wood  of  Avocourt  to  the  Meuse  along  the  slopes  of 
Haucourt,  the  bed  of  Forges  Brook,  and  the  crests  north  of 
Cumieres,  had  been  broken  by  the  terrific  attacks  of  the  enemy. 

BATTLES    OF    HILL   304   AND   DOUAUMONT      361 

The  crown  prince's  army,  which  had  been  badly  punished  and 
suffered  heavy  losses  in  this  area  in  March,  renewed  the  attempt 
to  capture  Mort  Homme  and  Hill  304  in  May,  1916.  It  was 
evident  from  the  elaborate  preparations  made  to  possess  these 
points  that  the  Germans  considered  them  of  first  importance 
and  that  their  conquest  would  hasten  the  defeat  of  the  French 



IT  will  be  recalled  that  on  April  9,  1916,  the  crown  prince  had 
launched  a  general  attack  on  the  whole  front  between  Avo- 
court  and  the  Meuse,  the  capture  of  Hill  304  being  one  of  his 
chief  objectives.  The  onslaught,  carried  out  on  a  huge  scale, 
was  a  failure,  and  another  attempt  made  on  the  28th  also  col- 
lapsed. Since  then  the  Germans  had  been  held  in  their  trenches, 
unable  to  engage  in  any  action  owing  to  the  vigilance  of  the 
French  artillery  gunners. 

On  May  3,  1916,  the  Germans  began  a  violent  bombardment 
as  a  prelude  to  another  attempt  to  capture  Hill  340.  On  the 
following  day,  about  2  p.  m.,  their  assaulting  waves  were  hurled 
against  the  French  positions  on  the  counterslope  north  of  the 
hill.  The  bombardment  had  been  so  destructive  that  large  num- 
bers of  French  soldiers  were  buried  in  the  trenches.  The  active 
defenders  that  remained  were  not  strong  enough  in  numbers  to 
repel  the  masses  of  Germans  thrown  against  them,  and  the 
slopes  were  occupied  by  the  enemy.  During  the  night  there  was 
a  French  counterattack;  it  was  directed  by  a  brilliant  officer  of 
the  General  Staff,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Odent,  Who  had  at  his  own 
request  been  assigned  the  duty  of  defending  this  dangerous  posi- 
tion. Rallying  the  men  of  his  regiment,  he  threw  them  against 
the  foe.  The  French  succeeded  in  reaching  the  edges  of  the 
plateau  facing  northeast.    This  advance  was  not  gained  without 

362  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

considerable  losses,  and  during  the  charge  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Odent  was  killed. 

On  May  5,  1916,  the  Germans  after  an  intense  bombardment, 
in  which  gas  shells  were  lavishly  used,  tried  to  turn  Hill  304, 
and  also  attacked  the  Camart  Wood  and  Hill  287.  On  the 
northern  slope  of  Hill  304  the  French  trenches  were  so  badly 
damaged  that  they  could  not  be  held.  But  the  Germans,  caught 
by  the  French  artillery  fire,  found  it  impossible  to  advance. 
Having  failed  to  reach  the  plateau  from  the  north,  an  attempt 
was  made  through  the  ravine  and  behind  the  woods  west  and 
northwest  of  Hill  304.  This  plan  was  frustrated  by  the  French, 
who  repulsed  them  with  the  bayonet. 

The  German  attacks  having  failed  everjrwhere.  Hill  304  was 
subjected  to  continuous  and  violent  bombardment.  In  the  after- 
noon of  the  7th  they  attacked  again.  With  the  exception  of  a 
strip  of  trench  east  of  the  hill,  which  was  retaken  the  following 
night,  they  did  not  register  any  advance. 

Among  the  German  regiments  participating  in  these  attacks 
the  following  were  identified:  Regiments  of  the  Eleventh  Ba- 
varian Division,  a  regiment  of  the  Hundred  and  Ninety-second 
Brigade,  the  Twelfth  Reserve  Division,  the  Fourth  Division,  and 
the  Forty-third  Reserve  Division. 

From  the  13th  to  the  16th  of  May,  1916,  the  Germans  con- 
tinued their  attacks  on  the  Camart  Wood  west  of  Hill  304.  In 
these  operations  they  employed  a  fresh  corps,  the  Twenty-second 
Reserve  Corps,  for  the  first  time. 

After  a  lull  lasting  a  few  days  the  battle  assumed  an  increas- 
ing violence  on  the  left  bank.  In  the  afternoon  of  the  20th  the 
Germans  threw  four  divisions  to  the  assault  of  Mort  Homme. 
During  the  night  and  on  the  following  day  the  battle  raged  with 
undiminished  fury.  At  a  heavy  cost  the  Germans  succeeded  at 
last  in  capturing  some  trenches  north  and  west  of  Mort  Homme. 
At  one  time  the  French  second  lines  were  seriously  threatened, 
but  a  spirited  defense  scattered  the  attackers.  After  intense 
fighting  the  French  won  back  some  of  the  ground  they  had  lost 
on  Hill  287,  and  during  May  21  and  22,  1916,  succeeded  in  re- 
gaining other  positions  captured  by  the  enemy. 

BATTLES    OF    HILL    304   AND   DOUAUMONT      363 

The  recovery  of  Fort  Douaumont  which  had  been  occupied  by 
Brandenburgers  since  February  25,  1916,  was  now  the  aim  of 
the  French.  General  Mangin,  one  of  the  youngest  officers  of  that 
rank  in  the  French  army  and  commanding  the  Fifth  Division, 
directed  operations.  The  French  brought  into  action  their 
heaviest  artillery,  which  opened  a  terrific  fire  on  the  German 

The  French  soldiers  accepted  it  as  an  omen  of  success  when 
about  8  o^clock  in  the  morning  of  May  22,  1916,  six  captive  bal- 
loons stationed  over  the  right  bank  of  the  Meuse  exploded,  thus 
depriving  the  German  batteries  of  their  observers  on  whom  they 
counted  to  get  the  range. 

At  about  10  in  the  morning  the  French  infantry  by  a  brilliant 
charge  captured  three  lines  of  German  trenches.  The  fortress 
of  Douaumont  was  penetrated,  and  during  the  entire  night  a 
fierce  struggle  was  continued  within  its  walls.  In  spite  of  the 
most  violent  efforts  of  the  Germans  to  dislodge  the  French  they 
maintained  their  positions  within  the  fort. 

Throughout  the  morning  of  May  23,  1916,  the  Germans  rained 
shells  on  French  positions  defended  by  the  Hundred  and  Twenty- 
ninth  Regiment.  The  bombardment  spread  destruction  among 
the  French  troops,  but  they  still  clung  to  the  terrain  they  had 
won  and  refused  to  yield  or  retreat. 

Throughout  the  night  of  May  23,  1916,  the  bloody  struggle 
continued  unabated.  On  the  morning  of  May  24,  1916,  the  for- 
tress was  still  in  the  hands  of  the  French,  with  the  exception  of 
the  northern  salient  and  some  parts  to  the  east.  On  the  follow- 
ing day  two  new  Bavarian  divisions  were  thrown  into  the  fight 
and  succeeded  in  retaking  the  lines  of  the  fortress,  driving  back 
the  French  as  far  as  the  immediate  approaches;  that  is,  to  the 
places  they  occupied  previous  to  their  attack. 

On  the  left  bank  of  the  Meuse  the  fighting  slowed  down,  de- 
creasing gradually  in  intensity.  The  Germans  were  reacting 
feebly  in  this  territory,  concentrating  their  greatest  efforts  on 
the  right  bank.  Throughout  the  whole  region  of  Thiaumont, 
Douaumont,  and  Vaux  they  pressed  the  fighting  and  were  en- 
gaged in  almost  continuous  attacks  and  bombardments. 



BATTLES    OF   HILL    304    AND    DOUAUMONT      365 

On  the  1st  of  June,  1916,  all  the  French  front  in  this  sector 
was  attacked.  The  Germans,  disregarding  their  heavy  losses, 
returned  repeatedly  to  the  charge.  It  was  ascertained  through  a 
document  found  on  a  prisoner  that  General  Falkenhayn,  chief  of 
the  German  General  Staff,  had  given  the  order  to  advance  at 
all  costs. 

The  Germans  attacked  fearlessly,  but  the  only  progress  they 
succeeded  in  making  was  through  the  Caillette  Wood  to  the 
southern  edge  of  Vaux  Pool. 

For  fiwe  days  this  battle  continued,  one  of  the  most  desperately 
fought  around  Verdun,  and  yet  the  Germans  made  insignificant 
gains,  out  of  all  proportion  to  their  immense  losses.  The  Ba- 
varian Division  which  led  the  attack  displayed  an  "unprecedented 
violence,'*  according  to  a  French  communique  issued  at  the  time. 
The  Germans,  repulsed  again  and  again,  returned  to  the  charge, 
and  succeeded  in  obtaining  a  foothold  in  the  first  houses  of 

The  struggle  was  continued  without  pause  during  the  night 
from  June  2  to  June  3,  1916.  By  repeated  and  vigorous  attacks 
the  Germans  at  last  entered  the  ditches  to  the  north  of  the 
fortress  of  Vaux,  but  were  unable  to  penetrate  the  works  oc- 
cupied by  the  French. 

About  8  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  June  3,  1916,  the  Germans 
attempted  to  surprise  the  fortress  at  the  southeast  by  escalading 
the  ravine  which  cuts  the  bank  of  the  Mouse  near  Damloup. 
This  was  foiled  by  the  French,  who  drove  them  back  in  a 
sharp  counterattack.  The  Germans  did  not  make  the  attempt 
again  at  this  time,  but  continued  to  bombard  the  fort  with 
heavy  guns. 

On  June  4,  1916,  at  3  in  the  afternoon,  several  German  bat- 
talions advancing  from  Vaux  Pool  attempted  to  climb  the  slopes 
to  the*  wood  of  Fumin,  but  were  swept  back  by  French  machine- 
gun  fire.  In  the  evening  and  during  the  night  the  Germans  re- 
peatedly attacked  without  gaining  any  advantage.  The  wood  of 
Fumin  remained  in  French  possession. 

There  were  no  attacks  on  the  following  day,  owing  to  weather 
conditions  and  the  general  exhaustion  of  the  German  troops. 



X>^III.ARMY  CORg]         Ijr.AXMY  CORPsI 









■*■ ■ 








^^[army  corps! 



O        1        z       3      ^      5  lO 

■BMBB  BATTLE    LINE     MARCH    1916 



Sllllllllllllllltl Illlllil Ill 


BATTLES    OF    HILL    304    AND    DOUAUMONT      367 

But  the  Sixth  German  Artillery  resumed  its  firing  on  the  for- 
tress, throwing  such  an  avalanche  of  shells  that  every  approach 
to  the  place  became  impassable.  Inside  the  works  a  mere  hand- 
ful of  French  under  Major  Raynal  firmly  held  its  ground. 

In  the  evening  of  June  6,  1916,  the  garrison  of  the  fortress  of 
Vaux  repulsed  a  savage  German  attack;  but  during  the  night, 
owing  to  the  tremendous  bombardment  which  cut  off  all  com- 
munication with  the  fortress,  the  position  of  the  French  became 
serious  indeed.  The  brave  garrison  was  now  entirely  sur- 
rounded. Finally  by  means  of  signals  they  were  able  to  make 
their  condition  known  to  French  troops  at  some  distance  away. 
Unless  they  could  get  speedy  assistance  there  was  no  hope  of 
their  holding  the  fort.  The  struggle  continued  more  desperately 
than  ever  as  the  Grermans  realized  how  precarious  was  the 
French  hold  on  the  place. 

On  June  6, 1916,  the  French  gunner  Vannier,  taking  with  him 
some  comrades,  most  of  whom  were  wounded,  succeeded  in 
escaping  through  an  air  hole  and  tried  to  reach  the  French  lines. 

The  heroic  garrison  had  now  reached  the  limit  of  human  en- 
durance. Without  food  or  water,  it  was  hopeless  for  them  to 
continue  their  defense  of  the  place.  When  the  last  hope  was 
gone.  Major  Raynal  addressed  this  message  to  his  men : 

''We  have  stayed  the  limit.  Officers  and  men  have  done  their 
duty.    Long  live  France  V 

On  June  7,  1916,  the  Germans  took  possession  of  the  fortress 
and  its  heroic  garrison. 

Major  Raynal  for  his  brave  conduct  was  by  order  of  General 
Joffre  made  a  Commander  of  the  Legion  of  Honor.  According 
to  a  German  report  Raynal  was  permitted  by  the  crown  prince 
to  retain  his  sword  in  appreciation  of  his  valorous  defense  of  the 
fort.  It  must  be  conceded  that  the  capture  of  Fort  Vaux,  though 
costly,  was  a  valuable  acquisition  to  the  Germans,  and  served  to 
hearten  and  encourage  the  troops  who  had  met  with  so  many 
disasters  in  this  area. 

By  this  victory  they  were  brought  into  contact  with  the  inner 
line  of  the  Verdun  defenses,  and  now  if  ever  were  in  a  position 
for  a  supreme  effort  which  might  decide  the  war,  as  far  as 

X— War  St.  5 

368  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

France  was  concerned.  But  if  this  desired  end  was  to  be  ob^ 
tained,  the  crushing  blow  must  be  delivered  at  once,  for  time 
threatened.  Russian  successes  on  the  southeastern  front  had 
created  a  new  and  serious  problem.  It  was  known  that  a  Franco- 
British  offensive  was  imminent.  The  Germans  were  in  a  situa- 
tion that  called  for  heroic  action:  the  capture  of  Verdun  with 
all  possible  speed. 

During  the  month  of  June,  1916,  the  Germans  used  up  men 
and  material  on  a  lavish  and  unprecedented  scale.  On  June  23, 
1916,  they  started  a  general  attack  against  the  French  positions 
of  Froideterre,  Fleury,  and  Souville.  From  papers  taken  from 
prisoners  it  was  learned  that  a  very  great  offensive  was  intended 
which  the  Germans  believed  would  carry  them  up  to  the  very 
walls  of  Verdun.  The  German  troops  were  ordered  to  advance 
without  stopping,  without  respite,  and  regardless  of  losses,  to 
capture  the  last  of  the  French  positions.  The  assaulting  force 
that  was  to  carry  out  this  program  was  estimated  to  number 
between  70,000  and  80,000  men. 

Preceded  by  a  terrific  bombardment  the  Germans  attacked  at 
8  o'clock  in  the  morning  of  June  23,  1916,  on  a  front  of  five 
kilometers,  from  Hill  321  to  La  Lauffee.  Under  the  fury  of  the 
onslaught  the  French  line  was  bent  in  at  a  certain  point.  The 
Thiaumont  works  and  some  near-by  trenches  were  carried  by  the 
Germans.  One  of  their  strong  columns  succeeded  in  penetrating 
the  village  of  Fleury,  but  was  speedily  ejected.  To  the  west  in 
the  woods  of  Chapitre  and  Fumin  all  the  German  assaults  were 
shattered.  During  the  night  the  French  counterattacked ;  th^ 
recaptured  a.  part  of  the  ground  lost  between  Hills  820  and  321 
and  drove  the  Germans  back  as  far  as  the  Thiaumont  works. 

The  battle  raged  with  varying  fortunes  to  the  combatants  all 
day  long  on  June  24,  1916.  The  village  of  Fleury  in  the  center 
was  directly  under  fire  of  the  German  guns,  and  they  succeeded 
in  occupying  a  group  of  houses.  The  French  delivered  a  dash- 
ing counterattack,  and  were  successful  in  freeing  all  but  a  small 
part  of  the  place.  On  the  25th  the  Germans  doubled  the  violence 
of  their  bombardment.  Not  since  they  assumed  the  offensive 
had  they  launched  such  a  tornado  of  destructive  fire.    Another 




370  THE    STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

objective  of  the  Germans  besides  Fleury  was  the  fortress  of 
Souville.  In  the  ravines  of  Bazile  they  suffered  appalling  losses, 
but  succeeded  in  gaining  a  foothold  in  the  wood  of  Chapitre. 
The  French,  counterattacking,  regained  most  of  the  lost  ground, 
and  still  held  the  village  of  Fleury. 

The  struggle  around  Thiaumont  works  continued  for  days, 
during  which  the  place  changed  hands  several  times.  It  was 
recaptured  by  the  French  on  June  28,  1916,  lost  again  on  the 
following  day,  retaken  once  more,  and  on  July  4,  1916,  it  was 
again  in  German  hands.  The  struggle  over  this  one  position 
will  give  some  impression  of  the  intensity  of  the  fighting  along 
the  entire  front  during  this  great  offensive  which  the  Germans 
hoped  and  believed  would  prove  decisive. 

The  general  tactics  pursued  by  the  Germans  in  these  attacks 
never  varied.  They  made  their  efforts  successively  on  the  ri^t 
and  on  the  left  of  the  point  under  aim,  so  that  they  could  en- 
circle the  point  which  formed  in  this  manner  a  salient,  and  was 
suitable  for  concentration  of  artillery  fire. 

The  Germans  failed  to  make  any  serious  advance  in  the  center 
of  the  French  lines,  being  halted  by  vigorous  counterattacks. 

On  July  12, 1916,  the  Germans  attacked  with  six  regiments  and 
pushed  their  way  to  the  roads  to  Fleury  and  Vaux  within  800 
meters  of  the  fortress  of  Souville.  This  advance  during  the 
next  few  days  was  halted  by  the  French. 

The  Germans  claimed  to  have  captured  thirty-nine  French 
officers  and  2,000  men  during  their  attack.  They  did  not,  ap- 
parently, attempt  to  pursue  their  advantage  and  press  on,  but- 
returned  to  bombarding  the  French  works  at  Souville,  Chenois, 
and  La  Lauff ee.  As  the  Allied  offensive  on  the  Somme  developed 
strength,  the  German  attacks  on  Verdun  perceptibly  weakened^ 
and  beyond  a  few  patrol  engagements  in  Chenois  Wood,  no 
further  infantry  fighting  was  reported  from  Verdun  on  July  16, 
1916.  But  the  French  continued  to  "nibble**  into  the  German 
positions  around  Fleury  three  miles  from  Verdun,  and  had  im- 
proved and  strengthened  their  positions  at  Hill  304.  Fleury 
was  now  the  nearest  point  to  Verdun  that  the  Germans  had 
succeeded  in  reaching,  but  here  their  advance  was  halted. 


The  British  had  meanwhile  been  pressing  forward  on  the 
Somme,  and  by  July  23,  1916,  had  penetrated  the  German  third 
line.  The  Russians  too  were  winning  successes,  and  had  dealt 
a  destructive  blow  in  Volhynia.  The  pressure  from  the  east 
and  west  forced  the  Germans  to  withdraw  large  bodies  of  troops 
from  the  Verdun  sector  and  send  them  to  the  relief  of  their 
brothers  on  other  fronts. 

In  the  closing  days  of  July,  1916,  the  Franco-British  "push** 
became  the  principal  German  preoccupation.  The  great  struggle 
for  Verdun,  the  longest  battle  continuously  fought  in  history, 
from  that  time  on  became  a  military  operation  of  only  second 

The  magnitude  of  this  great  struggle  may  be  illustrated  by 
a  few  statistics.  In  the  six  months*  combat  some  3,000  cannon 
had  been  brought  into  action.  About  two  millions  of  men 
had  attacked  or  defended  the  stronghold.  No  correct  esti- 
mate can  be  made  of  the  losses  on  both  sides,  but  it  is  stated 
that  at  least  200,000  were  killed,  and  the  end  was  not  yet  in 

The  second  anniversary  of  the  war  found  the  Germans  on  the 
defensive.  Twenty  million  fighters  had  been  called  to  the  colors 
of  twelve  belligerent  nations ;  about  four  million  had  been  killed, 
and  over  ten  million  wounded  and  taken  prisoners.  For  all  this 
vast  expenditure  in  blood  and  treasure  no  decisive  battle  had 
been  fought  since  the  German  defeat  on  the  Mame  in  Sep- 
tember, 1914. 



WHILE  greater  issues  were  being  fought  out  in  the  Verdun 
sector,  from  the  beginning  of  the  second  phase  of  the  Ger- 
man attack  during  March,  there  was  considerable  sporadic  "live- 
liness" on  other  parts  of  the  western  front.  Though  the  main 
interest  centered  for  the  time  around  the  apparently  inpreg- 

372  THE    STORY   OF   THE   GREAT   WAR 

nable  fortresses  of  which  Verdun  is  the  nucleus,  a  continuous, 
fluctuating  activity  was  kept  in  progress  along  the  whole  line 
up  to  the  opening  of  the  big  allied  offensive  on  the  last  day  of 
June.  March  1, 1916,  found  the  battle  line  practically  unchanged. 
From  Ostend  on  the  North  Sea  it  ran  straightway  south  through 
the  extreme  western  comer  of  Belgium,  crossing  the  French 
frontier  at  a  point  northwest  of  Lille.  From  there  it  zigzagged 
its  way  to  a  point  about  sixty  miles  north  of  Paris,  whence 
it  then  followed  an  eastern  tangent  paralleling  the  northern 
bank  of  the  River  Aisne;  thence  easterly  to  Verdun,  forming 
there  a  queer  half -moon  salient  arc  with  the  points  bent  sharply 
toward  the  center.  From  the  south  of  Verdun  the  line  extended 
unbroken  and  rather  straight  south  and  a  little  easterly  to  the 
Swiss  frontier. 

In  the  Ypres  sector  during  the  first  four  days  of  March  the 
fighting  was  confined  to  the  usual  round  of  violent  artillery  duels, 
mine  springing,  hand  grenade  skirmishing,  intermittent  hand-to- 
hand  attacks  and  effective  aircraft  raids.  On  March  1,  1916, 
twenty  British  aircraft  set  out  seeking  as  their  objective  the 
important  German  lines  of  communication  and  advanced  bases 
east  and  north  of  Lille.  Considerable  damage  was  inflicted  with 
high  explosive  bombs.  One  British  aeroplane  failed  to  return. 
From  all  parts  thrilling,  tragic  and  heroic  aerial  exploits  are 
recorded.  While  cruising  over  the  Beanon-Jussy  road  a  German 
Fokker  observed  a  rapidly  moving  enemy  transport.  Re- 
versing his  course,  the  pilot  floated  over  the  procession  and 
dropped  bombs.  The  motor  lorries  stopped  immediately,  when 
the  aeroplane  dropped  toward  the  earth,  attacked  the  transport 
at  close  range  and  got  away  again  in  safety.  On  the  same  day 
also  a  French  biplane  equipped  with  double  motors  encountered 
an  enemy  plane  near  Cemay,  in  the  valley  of  the  Thur,  and 
brought  it  down  a  shattered  mass  of  flame.  North  of  Soissons, 
near  the  village  of  Vezaponin,  a  French  machine  was  shot  down 
into  the  German  lines;  another  French  aero  was  struck  by 
German  antiaircraft  guns;  with  a  marvelous  dive  and  series  of 
loops  it  crashed  to  earth.  Both  pilot  and  observer  were  buried 
with  their  machine.  During  the  evening  of  March  1,  1916,  the 


Grerman  infantry,  after  a  furious  cannonading  north  of  the 
Somme,  delivered  a  sharp  assault  on  a  line  of  British  trenches, 
but  were  held  back  by  machine-gun  fire.  Along  the  Ypres  sector 
the  same  night  violent  gunfire  took  place  on  both  sides  with  ap- 
parently small  effect  or  damage.  In  a  previous  volume  it  was 
mentioned  that  the  Germans  had  once  more  recaptured  the 
"international  trench*'  on  February  14,  1916.  For  a  fortnight 
the  British  artillery  constantly  held  the  position  under  fire  and 
prevented  the  consolidation  of  the  ground.  At  4.30  a.  m.  the 
British  infantry  suddenly  emerged  from  their  trenches.  The 
grenadiers  dashed  ahead,  smothering  the  surprised  Germans 
with  bombs.  The  general  disorder  was  increased  by  the  fact  that 
the  trench  parties  were  just  being  relieved.  In  a  few  minutes  the 
lost  ground  was  recovered,  the  German  line  dangerously  pushed 
in  and  254  prisoners,  including  five  officers,  fell  to  the  British. 
At  midday  the  Germans  bombarded  the  line  with  fifty  batteries 
for  four  hours.  Then  waves  of  assaulting  columns  were  let 
loose  against  the  British.  The  latter  noticed  that  the  front  line 
of  infantry  hurled  their  bombs  several  yards  behind  the  British 
trenches  and  rushed  forward  with  hands  up.  Immediately  a 
hurricane  of  shells  from  their  own  guns  burst  among  the  Ger- 
man infantry.  The  survivors  flung  themselves  on  the  ground 
and  crawled  into  the  British  trenches  for  protection.  This  ac- 
tion was  the  more  significant  in  that  the  men  who  thus  sur- 
rendered were  all  very  young  and  belonged  to  a  regiment  which, 
until  then,  had  fought  with  conspicuous  bravery.  At  the  end 
of  the  day  the  British  counted  more  than  300  corpses,  while 
their  own  losses  were  slight  and  their  entire  gains  maintained. 
Most  of  the  combats  in  the  Artois  and  Ypres  sectors  consisted 
of  mine  springing  and  crater  fighting.  What  was  once  the 
Hohenzollern  Redoubt  was  particularly  the  scene  of  some  vigor- 
ous subterranean  warfare.  What  happened  there  on  March  2  is 
thus  described  by  an  eyewitness:  "Many  huge  craters  have 
been  made,  won,  and  what  is  more,  retained  by  a  rare  com- 
bination of  skill,  courage,  and  endurance.  Men  who  fought  all 
through  the  war  have  seen  nothing  comparable  with  the  largest 
of  these  craters.    They  are  amphitheaters,  and  cover  perhaps 

874  THE    STORY    OF    THE    GREAT   WAR 

half  an  acre  of  ground.  When  the  mine  exploded  at  5.45  p.  m. 
on  March  2, 1916,  a  thing  like  a  great  black  mushroom  rose  from 
the  earth.  Beneath  it  appeared,  with  the  ponderous  momentum 
of  these  big  upheavals,  a  white  growth  like  the  mushroom's  gills. 
It  was  the  chalk  subsoil  following  in  the  wake  of  the  black  loam. 
With  this  black  and  white  upheaval  went  up,  Heaven  knows, 
how  many  bodies  and  limbs  of  Germans,  scattered  everywhere 
with  the  rest  of  the  debris.  And  the  explosion .  sent  up  many 
graves  as  well  as  the  bodies  of  the  living.  One  of  the  Britii^ 
bombers  who  occupied  the  crater  and  spent  a  crowded  hour  hurl- 
ing bombs  from  the  farther  lip  found  that  he  was  steadying 
himself  and  getting  a  lever  for  the  bowling  arm  by  clinging  on  to 
a  black  projection  with  his  left  hand.  It  was  a  Hessian  boot.  The 
soil  of  the  amphitheater  was  so  worked,  mixed,  and  sieved  by  the 
explosive  action  and  the  effects  of  the  melting  snow  that  it  was 
almost  impassable.  A  staff  officer,  among  others,  who  went  up  to 
help,  had  to  be  pulled  out  of  the  morass  as  he  was  carrying  away 
one  of  the  wounded.  There  is  no  fighting  so  terrible  and  so  con- 
densed as  crater  fighting.  The  struggle  is  a  veritable  graveyard, 
a  perfect  target  for  bomb  and  grenade  and  the  slower  attack  of 
the  enemy's  mine.  The  British  held  a  circle  of  German  trenches 
on  a  little  ridge  of  ground  north  of  Loos.  The  capture  meant  that 
they  could  overlook  the  plain  beyond  and  win  a  certain  projection. 
At  6.00  p.  m.  on  March  2, 1916,  the  engineers  exploded  four  mines 
under  the  nearer  arc,  and  within  a  few  minutes,  while  artillery 
thundered  overhead,  the  British  infantry  advanced  in  spite  of 
terrible  mud  and  occupied  each  crater.  Not  a  single  machine  gun 
was  fired  at  them  as  they  charged — probably  the  mines  had 
destroyed  them  all  —  and  their  casualties  were  very  small 

Germans  counterattacking  hurried  up  their  communication 
trenches,  and  as  they  came  on  some  examples  of  prompt  handi- 
work stopped  their  advance.  A  sergeant  and  one  man  stopped 
one  rush ;  a  color  sergeant  and  private,  well  equipped  with  sand- 
bags, each  holding  a  score  of  bombs,  performed  miracles  of  re- 
sistance. Every  night  the  Germans  came  on,  capping  a  day  of 
continuous  bombardment  with  showers  of  bombs,  rifle  grenades, 


and  artillery,  mostly  5.9  howitzers,  and  with  infantry  onsets 
at  close  quarters.  They  stormed  with  dash  and  determination, 
backed  by  good  artillery  and  an  apparently  inexhaustible  stock 
of  grenades.  The  tale  of  the  German  losses  was  high.  One 
communication  trench  packed  with  men  was  raked  from  end  to 
end  with  a  British  Lewis  gun  till  it  was  a  graveyard.  On  this 
occasion  the  British  artillery  was  overwhelming  in  amount  and 
volume;  sheik  were  not  spared,  and  they  fired  ten  to  the  Ger- 
mans' one.  Within  less  than  a  mile  and  a  half  there  were  eight 
groups  of  mines. 

On  March  3,  1916,  an  intense  artillery  duel  progressed  for 
possession  of  the  Bluff,  an  elevated  point  above  the  Ypres- 
Comines  Canal.  The  Germans  evidently  regarded  the  point  as 
important,  for  they  flung  great  masses  of  troops  over  the  Bluff, 
when  the  British  attacked  and  captured  more  than  their  lost 
lines  of  trenches  running  along  an  eastern  hillock  by  the  canal. 
The  next  night  and  morning  the  British  heavy  artillery  poured 
a  continuous  stream  of  shell  on  the  Bluff  in  well-marked  time. 
The  men  in  the  front  trenches  began  cheering,  as  always  before 
an  attack,  but  instead  of  advancing  they  shot  over  a  heavy, 
shower  of  bombs.  One  soldier  alone  was  credited  with  having 
flung  more  than  300  bombs  into  the  German  trenches.  In  the 
obscurity  of  the  gray  dawn  British  troops  quietly  and  suddenly, 
dashed  into  the  Germans  and  cleared  the  trenches  with  bayonets. 
This  was  accomplished  in  two  minutes,  when  the  large  guns 
spread  a  curtain  of  fire  over  the  Germans,  inflicting  severe 
losses.  The  German  soldiers  then  attempted  resolute  counter- 
attacks, but  were  repulsed  with  machine-gun  fire. 

Between  the  1st  and  4th  of  March,  1916,  there  was  sharp  gre- 
nade fighting  southeast  of  Vermelles,  in  some  mine  craters.  After 
severe  bombardment  the  Germans  attempted  to  recapture  the 
craters  by  infantry  attacks,  but  apparently  without  success.  In 
Artois  they  endeavored  to  drive  the  French  from  a  crater  they 
occupied  near  the  road  from  Neuville  to  La  Folie,  and  failed  in 
the  enterprise.  In  the  Argonne  the  French  bombarded  the  Ger- 
man organizations  in  the  region  southeast  of  Vauquois  and  de- 
moUshed  several  shelters,  while  in  Lorraine,  in  the  neighborhood 

876  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

of  the  Thiauville  Ponds,  the  French  carried  sections  of  German 
trenches  after  artillery  preparation,  capturing  sixty  prisoners, 
including  two  officers,  and  some  machine  guns.  On  March  4, 
1916,  a  serious  explosion  occurred  in  the  powder  magazine  known 
as  "Double  Couronne,''  St.  Denis,  a  fort  used  by  the  French  as 
a  munitions  store.  The  concussion  was  so  terrific  that  a  car  a 
considerable  distance  away  and  containing  thirty-two  passengers 
was  overturned  and  nearly  all  were  injured.  Altogether  the 
casualties  amounted  to  about  thirty-five  killed  and  200  wounded. 
In  the  Ypres  sector  during  March  4  and  5,  1916,  the  fighting 
came  to  a  standstill  and  the  positions  remained  unchanged.  In 
the  Champagne  vigorous  artillery  action  continued  on  both  sides 
with  occasional  infantry  attacks  and  counterattacks  of  little  con- 
sequence. In  the  district  about  Loos  and  northeast  of  Ypres 
heavy  cannonading  endured  all  day  on  the  6th,  the  Germans 
hurling  quantities  of  large  caliber  shells  over  the  enemy's 
trenches  without  any  apparent  object.  On  the  Ypres-Comines 
Canal  the  British  still  held  the  positions  gained  by  storm  on 
March  2,  1916.  Near  Soissons  the  French  heavily  bombarded 
the  German  works,  and  their  terrific  fire  at  Badenviller  in  Lor- 
raine compelled  a  German  retirement  from  the  positions  estab- 
lished there  February  21,  1916.  In  the  Flanders  sector,  on  the 
Belgian  front,  concentrated  artillery  fire  silenced  German  bomb 
throwers  in  a  futile  attempt  to  capture  a  trench.  In  the  Woevre 
district  the  German  troops,  after  a  fierce  assault,  stormed  the 
village  of  Fresnes  and  captured  it,  the  French  retaining  a  few 
positions  on  the  outskirts.  The  German  infantry  advanced  in 
close  formation  and  literally  swarmed  into  the  village,  while 
the  French  75's  and  machine  guns  tore  great  gaps  in  their  ranks. 
Northeast  of  Vermelles  small  detachments  of  British  troops  pene- 
trated the  German  trenches  on  March  6,  1916,  but  were  com- 
pelled to  retire.  Active  engagements  and  furious  hand-to-hand 
fighting  centered  around  Maisons  de  Champagne.  The  positions 
the  French  had  taken  on  February  11,  1916,  were  recaptured  by 
surprise  bayonet  attacks,  the  Germans  taking  two  officers  and 
150  men  prisoners.  In  the  Argonne  region  attempts  on  the  part 
of  the  Germans  to  occupy  some  mine  craters  were  repulsed. 

BATTLE    OF    THE    SOMME  877 


BATTLE      OF     THE      SOMME  —  ALLIED      PREPA- 

PICARDY,  where  the  great  battle  of  the  Somme  was  staged 
in  the  summer  of  1916,  is  a  typical  French  farming  region  of 
peasant  cultivators,  a  rolling  table-land,  seldom  rising  more  than 
a  few  hundred  feet,  and  intersected  by  myriad  shallow,  lazy- 
flowing  streams.  Detached  farms  are  few,  the  farmers  congre- 
gating in  and  around  the  little  villages  that  stand  in  the  midst  of 
hedgeless  com  and  beet  fields  stretching  far  and  wide.  Here 
the  Somme  flows  with  many  crooked  turns,  now  broadening  into 
a  lake,  now  flowing  between  bluffs  and  through  swamps.  There 
is,  or  rather  was,  an  inviting,  peaceful  look  about  this  country. 
Untouched,  remote  from  the  scene  of  battle  it  seemed,  yet  here 
in  the  spring  of  1916  preparations  were  already  going  forward 
for  what  was  to  prove  one  of  the  fiercest  struggles  of  the 
Great  War. 

In  July,  1915,  the  British  had  taken  over  most  of  the  line  from 
Arras  to  the  Somme,  and  had  passed  a  quiet  winter  in  the 
trenches.  The  long  pause  had  been  occupied  by  the  active  Ger- 
mans in  transforming  the  chalk  hills  they  occupied  into  fortified 
positions  which  they  believed  would  prove  impregnable.  The 
motives  for  the  Allies'  projected  offensive  on  the  Somme  were 
to  weaken  the  German  pressure  on  Verdun,  which  had  become 
severe  in  June,  and  to  prevent  the  transference  of  large  bodies 
of  troops  from  the  west  to  the  eastern  front  where  they  might 
endanger  the  plans  of  General  Brussilov. 

The  British  had  been  receiving  reenforcements  steadily,  and 
were  at  the  beginning  of  1916  in  a  position  to  lengthen  their 
line  sensibly.  In  the  neighborhood  of  Arras  they  were  able  to 
relieve  an  entire  French  army,  the  Tenth.  The  French  on  their 
side  had  by  no  means  exhausted  their  reserves  at  Verdun,  but  it 
would  prove  a  welcome  relief  to  them  if  by  strong  pressure  the 

378  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

long  strain  were  lifted  in  Picardy.  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  it  was 
stated,  would  have  preferred  to  delay  the  Somme  offensive  a 
little  longer,  for  while  his  forces  were  rapidly  increasing,  the 
new  levies  were  not  as  yet  completely  trained.  In  view,  how- 
•ever,  of  the  general  situation  of  the  Allies  in  the  west  it  was 
imperative  that  the  blow  should  be  delivered  not  later  than  mid- 
summer of  1916. 

The  original  British  Expeditionary  Force,  popularly  known  as 
the  "Old  Contemptibles,"  who  performed  prodigies  of  valor  in 
the  first  terrible  weeks  of  the  war,  had  largely  disappeared.  In 
less  than  two  years  the  British  armies  had  grown  from  six  to 
seventy  divisions,  not  including  the  troops  sent  by  India  and 
Canada.  In  addition  there  were  large  numbers  of  trained  men 
in  reserve  sufficient,  it  was  believed,  to  replace  the  probable 
wastage  that  would  occur  for  a  year  to  come.  It  was  in  every 
sense  a  New  British  Army,  for  the  famous  old  regiments  of  the 
line  had  been  renewed  since  Mons,  and  the  men  of  the  new 
battalions  were  drawn  from  the  same  source  that  supplied  their 
drafts.  The  old  formations  had  a  history,  the  new  battalions  had 
theirs  to  make.  This  in  good  time  they  proceeded  to  do,  as  will 
be  subsequently  shown. 

In  the  Somme  area  the  German  front  was  held  by  the  right 
wing  of  the  Second  Army,  once  Von  Billow's,  but  now  com- 
manded by  Otto  von  Below  a  brother  of  Fritz  von  Below  com- 
manding the  Eighth  Army  in  the  east.  The  area  of  Von  Below's 
army  in  the  Somme  region  began  south  of  Monchy,  while  the 
Sixth  Army  under  the  Crown  Prince  of  Bavaria  lay  due  north. 
The  front  between  Gommecourt  and  Frise  in  the  latter  part  of 
June  was  covered  in  this  manner.  North  of  the  Ancre  lay  the 
Second  Guard  Reserve  Division  and  the  Fifty-second  Division 
(two  units  of  the  Fourteenth  Reserve  Corps  raised  in  Baden, 
but  including  Prussians,  Alsatians,  and  what  not) ,  the  Twenty- 
sixth  and  Twenty-eighth  Reserve  Divisions,  and  then  the  Twelfth 
Division  of  the  Sixth  Reserve  Corps.  Covering  the  road  to 
Peronne  south  of  the  river  were  the  One  Hundred  and  Twenty- 
first  Division,  the  Eleventh  Division,  and  the  Thirty-sixth  Divi* 
sion  belonging  to  the  Seventeenth  Danzig  Corps. 




380  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT    WAR 

The  British  General  Staff  had  decided  that  the  Fourth  Army; 
under  General  Sir  Henry  Rawlinson  should  make  the  attack. 
General  Rawlinson  was  a  tried  and  experienced  officer,  who  at 
the  beginning  of  the  campaign  had  commanded  the  Seventh  Divi- 
sion, and  at  Loos  the  Fourth  Army  Corps.  His  front  extended 
from  south  of  Gommecourt  across  the  valley  of  the  Ancre  to  the 
north  of  Maricourt,  where  it  joined  the  French.  There  were  five 
corps  in  the  British  Fourth  Army,  the  Eighth  under  Lieutenant 
General  Sir  Aylmer  Hunter-Weston ;  the  Tenth  under  Lieutenant 
General  Sir  T.  L.  N.  Morland,  the  Third  under  Lieutenant  Gen- 
eral Sir  W.  P.  Pulteney,  the  Fifteenth  under  Lieutenant  General 
Home,  and  the  Thirteenth  under  Lieutenant  General  Congreve, 
V.  C.  The  nucleus  for  another  army,  mostly  composed  of  cavalry 
divisions,  lay  behind  the  forces  along  the  front.  Called  at  first 
the  Reserve,  and  afterward  the  Fifth  Army  under  the  command 
of  General  Sir  Hubert  Gough,  it  subsequently  won  renown  in 
some  of  the  hottest  fights  of  the  campaign. 

The  French  attacking  force,  the  Sixth  Army,  once  commanded 
by  Castelnau,  but  now  by  a  famous  artilleryman,  General  Fayolle, 
lay  from  Maricourt  astride  the  Somme  to  opposite  Fay  village. 
It  comprised  the  very  fk)wer  of  the  French  armies,  including  the 
Twentieth  Corps,  which  had  won  enduring  fame  at  Verdun  under 
the  command  of  General  Balfourier.  It  was  principally  com- 
posed of  Parisian  cockneys  and  countrymen  from  Lorraine,  and 
at  Arras  in  1914,  and  in  the  Artois  in  the  summer  of  1915,  had 
achieved  memorable  renown.  There  were  also  the  First  Colonial 
Corps  under  General  Brandelat,  and  the  Thirty-fifth  Corps  under 
General  Allonier.  To  the  south  of  the  attacking  force  lay  the 
Tenth  Army  commanded  by  General  Micheler,  which  was  held 
in  reserve.  The  soldiers  of  this  army  had  seen  less  fighting 
than  their  brothers  who  were  to  take  the  offensive,  but  they 
were  quite  as  eager  to  be  at  the  enemy,  and  irked  over  the 

During  the  entire  period  of  bombardment  the  French  and 
British  aviators,  by  means  of  direct  observation  and  by  photo- 
graphs, rendered  full  and  detailed  reports  of  the  results  obtained 
by  the  fire.    The  British  and  French  General  Staffs  thus  followed 

BATTLE    OF    THE    SOMME  S81 

from  day  to  day,  and  even  from  hour  to  hour,  the  progress  made 
in  the  destruction  of  German  trenches  and  shelters. 

During  the  bombardment  some  seventy  raids  were  undertaken 
between  Gommecourt  and  the  extreme  British  left  north  of 
Ypres.  Some  of  these  raids  were  for  the  purpose  of  deceiving 
the  enemy  as  to  the  real  point  of  assault  and  others  to  identify 
the  opposing  units.  Few  of  the  raiders  returned  to  the  British 
line  without  bagging  a  score  or  so  of  prisoners.  Among  thes€ 
raiding  parties  a  company  of  the  Ninth  Highland  Light  In- 
fantry especially  distinguished  themselves. 

Fighting  in  the  air  continued  every  day  during  this  prelim- 
inary bombardment.  It  was  essential  that  the  Germans  should  be 
prevented  from  seeing  the  preparations  that  were  going  forward. 
The  eyes  of  a  hostile  army  are  its  aeroplanes  and  captive  balloons. 
Owing  to  the  daring  of  the  French  and  British  aviators  the 
German  flyers  were  literally  prohibited  from  the  lines  of  the 
Allies  during  all  that  time.  In  five  days  fifteen  German  machines 
were  brought  to  the  ground.  Very  few  German  balloons  even 
attempted  to  take  the  air. 

On  June  24,  1916,  the  bombardment  of  German  trenches  had 
reached  the  highest  pitch  of  intensity.  The  storm  of  shells  swept 
the  entire  enemy  front,  destroying  trenches  at  Ypres  and  Arras 
and  equally  obliterating  those  at  Beaumont-Hamel  and  Fricourt. 

By  July  28,  1916,  all  the  region  subjected  to  bombardment 
presented  a  scene  of  complete  and  appalling  devastation.  Only 
a  few  stumps  marked  the  spot  where  leafy  groves  had  stood. 
The  pleasant  little  villages  that  had  dotted  ttie.  smiling  landscape 
were  reduced  to  mere  heaps  of  rubbish.  Hardly  a  bit  of  wall  was 
left  standing.  It  seemed  impossible  that  any  living  ttiing  could 
survive  in  all  that  shell-smitten  territory. 

As  the  day  fixed  upon  for  the  attack  drew  near  the  condition 
of  the  weather  caused  the  Briti^  command  some  anxious  hours. 
The  last  week  of  June,  1916,  was  cloudy,  and  frequent  showers 
of  rain  had  transformed  the  dusty  roads  into  deep  mud.  But  in 
the  excitement  that  preceded  an  assault  of  such  magnitude  the 
condition  of  the  weather  could  not  dampen  the  feverish  ardor 
of  the  troops.    There  was  so  much  to  be  done  that  there  was  no 

882  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

time  to  consider  anything  but  the  work  in  hand.  A  nervous 
exhilaration  prevailed  among  the  men,  who  looked  eagerly  and 
yet  fearfully  forward  to  the  hour  for  the  great  offensive  from 
which  such  great  things  were  expected. 

In  the  afternoon  of  the  last  day  of  June,  1916,  the  sky  cleared 
and  soon  the  stars  shone  brightly  in  the  clear,  blue  night.  Orders 
were  given  out  to  the  British  commanders  to  attack  on  the  follow- 
ing morning  three  hours  after  daybreak. 



THE  first  day  of  July,  1916,  dawned  warm  and  cloudless. 
Since  half  past  5  o'clock  every  gun  of  the  Allies  on  a  front 
of  twenty-five  miles  was  firing  without  pause,  producing  a  steady 
rumbling  sound  from  which  it  was  difficult  to  distinguish  the 
short  bark  of  the  mortars,  the  crackle  of  the  field  guns,  and  the 
deep  roar  of  the  heavies.  The  slopes  to  the  east  were  wreathed 
in  smoke,  while  in  the  foreground  lay  Albert,  where  German 
shells  fell  from  time  to  time,  with  its  shattered  church  of  Notre 
Dame  de  Bebrieres,  from  whose  ruined  campanile  the  famous 
gilt  Virgin  hung  head  downward.  At  intervals  along  the  Allies' 
front,  and  for  several  miles  to  the  rear,  captive  kite  balloons, 
tugging  at  their  moorings,  gleamed  brightly  in  the  morning  light. 

The  Allies'  bombardment  reached  its  greatest  intensity  about 
7.15,  when  all  the  enemy  slopes  were  hidden  by  waves  of  smoke 
like  a  heavy  surf  breaking  on  a  rock-bound  coast.  Here  and 
there  spouts  and  columns  of  earth  and  debris  shot  up  in  the 
sunlight.  It  seemed  that  every  living  thing  must  perish  within 
the  radius  of  that  devastating  hurricane  of  fire. 

At  7.30  exactly  there  was  a  short  lull  in  the  bombardment — 
just  long  enough  for  the  gunners  everywhere  to  lengthen  their 
range,  and  then  the  fire  became  a  barrage.  The  staff  officers, 
who  had  been  studying  their  watches,  now  gave  the  order,  and 


lalong  the  twenty-five  mile  front  the  Allies'  infantry  left  the 
trenches  and  advanced  to  attack. 

In  this  opening  stage  of  the  battle  the  British  aim  was  the 
German  first  position.  The  section  selected  for  attack  ran  from 
north  to  south,  covering  Gommiecourt,  passing  east  of  Hebuterne 
and  following  the  high  ground  before  Serre  and  Beaumont- 
Hamel,  crossed  the  Ancre  northwest  of  Thiepval.  From  this 
point  it  stretched  for  about  a  mile  and  a  quarter  to  the  east  of 
Albert.  Passing  south  around  Fricourt,  it  turned  at  right  angles 
to  the  east,  covering  Mametz  and  Montauban.  Midway  between 
Maricourt  and  Hardecourt  it  turned  south,  covering  Curlu, 
crossing  the  Somme  at  a  marshy  place  near  Vaux,  and  finally 
passed  east  of  Frise,  Dompierre,  and  Soyecourt,  to  leave  east  of 
Lihons  the  sector  in  which  the  Allied  offensive  was  in  progress 
which  we  are  describing. 

The  disposition  of  the  British  forces  on  the  front  of  attack 
was  as  follows :  The  right  wing  of  Sir  Edmund  Allenby*s  Third 
Army  and  General  Hunter-Weston's  Eighth  Corps  lay  opposite 
Gommecourt,  and  down  to  a  point  just  south  of  Beaumont- 
Hamel.  North  of  Ancre  to  Authuille  was  General  Morland's 
Tenth  Corps,  and  east  of  Albert  General  Pulteney's  Third  Corps, 
a  division  directed  against  La  Boiselle,  and  another  against 
Ovillers.  Adjoining  the  French  forces  on  the  British  right  flank 
lay  General  Congreve's  Thirteenth  Corps. 

The  Allies'  attack  was  not  unexpected  by  the  Germans,  and 
they  were  not  entirely  wrong  as  to  the  area  in  which  the  blow 
would  be  delivered.  From  Arras  to  Albert  they  had  concentrated 
large  forces  of  men  and  many  guns,  but  south  of  Albert  they  were 
less  strongly  prepared.  Their  weakest  point  was  south  of  the 
Somme,  where  the  Allies  had  all  the  advantage.  In  recording 
the  history  of  the  day's  fighting  two  separate  actions  must  be 
described,  in  the  north  and  in  the  south.  The  Allies  failed  in 
the  first  of  these,  but  in  the  second  they  gained  a  substantial 
victory  over  the  German  hosts.  The  most  desperate  struggle  of 
the  day  was  fought  between  Gommecourt  and  Thiepval. 

Three  of  the  British  divisions  in  action  here  were  from  the 
New  Army;  one  was  a  Territorial  brigade  and  the  two  others 

Y— War  St.  5 

384  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

had  seen  hard  fighting  in  Flanders  and  Gallipoli.  They  con« 
fronted  a  series  of  strongly  fortified  villages — Gommecourt 
Serre,  Beaumont-Hamel,  and  Thiepval — ^with  underground  caves, 
that  could  shelter  whole  battalions.  A  network  of  underground 
passages  led  to  sheltered  places  to  the  rear  of  the  fighting  line, 
and  deep  pits  had  been  dug  in  which,  in  time  of  bombardment, 
the  machine  guns  could  be  hidden.  The  Germans  had  also  direct 
observation  from  the  rear  of  these  strongholds,  where  their  guns 
were  massed  in  large  numbers. 

Occupying  such  strong  positions  with  every  advantage  in  their 
favor,  it  is  easy  to  understand  why  the  British  troops  that  at- 
tacked from  Gommecourt  to  Thiepval  failed  to  attain  their 
objective.  If  the  British  bombardment  had  reached  a  high  pitch 
of  intensity  on  the  morning  of  July  1,  1916,  the  German  guns 
were  no  less  active,  and  having  the  advantage  of  direct  observa- 
tion, their  explosive  shells  soon  obliterated  parts  of  the  British 
front  trenches,  compelling  the  British  to  form  up  in  the  open 
ground.  A  hot  barrage  fire  of  shrapnel  accurately  directed  fol- 
lowed the  British  troops  as  they  advanced  over  no-man's-land. 
Into  a  very  hell  of  shrapnel,  high  explosives,  rifle  and  machine- 
gun  fire  they  pushed  on  in  ordered  lines.  Soon  the  devastating 
storm  of  German  artillery  fire  cut  great  gaps  in  their  formation, 
yet  not  a  man  hung  back  or  wavered.  And  this  destructive  Ger- 
man fire,  accurate  and  relentless,  the  British  soldiers  faced  un- 
flinchingly from  early  dawn  to  high  noon.  Here  and  there  fhe 
German  position  was  penetrated  by  the  more  adventurous  spirits, 
some  detachments  even  forcing  their  way  through  it,  but  they 
could  not  hold  their  ground.  The  attack  was  checked  every- 
where, and  by  evening  what  was  left  of  the  British  troops  from 
Gommecourt  to  Thiepval  struggled  back  to  their  old  line. 

The  British  had  failed  to  win  their  objective,  but  the  day  had 
not  been  wholly  wasted ;  they  had  struck  deep  into  the  heart  of 
the  German  defense  and  inspired  in  the  enemy  a  wholesome 
respect  for  their  fighting  powers.  In  this  stubborn  attack  nearly 
every  English,  Scotch,  and  Irish  regiment  was  represented — a 
Newfoundland  battalion,  a  little  company  of  Rhodesians,  as  well 
as  London  and  Midland  Territorials — ^all  of  whom  displayed  high 


courage.  Again  and  again  the  German  position  was  pierced. 
Part  of  one  British  division  broke  through  south  of  Beaumont- 
Hamel  and  penetrated  to  the  Station  road  on  the  other  side  of  the 
quarry,  a  desperate  adventure  that  cost  many  lives.  It  was  at 
Beaumont-Hamel,  under  the  Hawthorne  Redoubt,  that  exactly 
at  7.30  a.  m.,  the  hour  of  attack,  the  British  exploded  a  mine 
which  they  had  been  excavating  for  seven  months.  It  was  the 
work  of  Lancashire  miners,  the  largest  mine  constructed  thus  far 
in  the  campaign.  It  was  a  success.  Half  the  village  and  acres  of 
land  spiiang  into  the  air,  blotting  out  for  a  time  the  light  of  the 
sun  on  the  scene  and  hiding  in  a  pall  of  dust  and  smoke  the 
rapidly  advancing  British  troops. 

In  the  day's  fighting  the  Irish  soldiers  were  especially  dis- 
tinguished for  many  remarkable  acts  of  bravery.  The  Royal 
Irish  Fusiliers  were  the  first  to  leave  the  trenches.  To  the  north 
of  Thiepval  the  Ulster  Division  broke  through  the  German  posi- 
tion at  a  point  called  "The  Crucifix,"  holding  for  a  time  the 
formidable  Schwaben  Redoubt,  and  some  even  penetrated  the 
outskirts  of  Gnandcourt.  The  Royal  Irish  Rifles  swept  over  the 
German  parapet^  and,  assisted  by  the  Inniskillings,  cleared  the 
trenches  and  destroyed  the  machine  gunners.  Through  the 
enemy  lines  they  swept,  enfiladed  on  three  sides,  and  losing  so 
heavily  that  only  a  few  escaped  from  the  desperate  venture. 
But  the  gallant  remnant  that  struggled  back  to  their  own  line 
took  600  prisoners,  one  trooper  alone  bringing  in  fifteen  through 
the  enemy's  own  barrage. 

The  village  of  Fricourt,  as  will  be  seen  by  the  map,  forms  a 
prominent  salient,  and  the  British  command  decided  to  cut  it  off 
by  attacking  on  two  sides.  An  advance  was  planned  on  the 
strongly  fortified  villages  of  Ovillers  and  La  Boiselle.  The 
British  on  the  first  day  won  the  outskirts  and  carried  all  the 
intrenchments  before  them,  but  had  not  gained  control  of  the 
ruins,  though  a  part  of  a  brigade  had  actually  entered  La  Boiselle 
and  held  a  portion  of  the  place.  To  complete  the  operation  of 
cutting  off  Fricourt  it  was  necessary  to  carry  Mametz  on  the 
south ;  this  accomplished,  the  forces  would  unite  in  the  north  at 
La  Boiselle  and  Ovillers  and,  following  the  long  depression 

386  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

popularly  known  as  Sausage  Valley  toward  Contalmaison,  would 
be  able  to  squeeze  Fricourt  so  hard  that  it  must  be  abandoned 
by  the  enemy.  The  British  plans  worked  out  successfully.  A 
division  that  had  been  sorely  punished  at  Loos  and  was  now 
occupying  a  position  west  of  Fricourt  had  now  an  opportunity 
to  avenge  its  previous  disaster.  With  grim  determination  to 
clean  up  the  old  score  against  the  Germans,  they  advanced  rapidly 
into  the  angle  east  of  Sausage  Valley,  carrying  two  small  woods 
and  attacking  Fricourt  from  the  north  and  occupying  a  formi- 
dable position  that  threatened  Fricourt. 

The  strongly  fortified  village  of  Montauban  fell  early  in  the 
day  of  July  1,  1916.  Reduced  to  ruins,  it  crowned  a  ridge  below 
the  position  of  the  British  lines  in  a  hollow  north  of  tiie  Peronne 
road  at  Camoy.  The  British  artillery  had  done  effective  work, 
and  the  attack  on  Montauban  resulted  in  an  easier  victory  than 
had  been  expected.  The  Sixth  Bavarian  Regiment  which  de- 
fended the  place  was  said  to  have  lost  3,000  out  of  the  8,500  who 
had  entered  the  battle.  Here  for  the  first  time  in  the  campaign 
was  witnessed  the  advance  in  line  of  the  soldiers  of  Britain  and 

It  was  a  moving  sight  that  thrilled  and  heartened  all  the 
combatants.  The  Twentieth  Corps  of  the  French  army  lay  on 
the  British  right,  while  the  Thirty-ninth  Division  under  Gen- 
eral Nourisson  marched  in  line  with  the  khaki-clad  Britons. 

Only  after  surveying  the  captured  ground  did  the  French  and 
British  realize  what  a  seemingly  impregnable  stronghold  had 
been  won.  Endless  labor  had  been  expended  by  the  Germans  not 
only  in  fortifying  the  place  but  in  constructing  dugouts  that  were 
well  furnished  and  homelike.  The  best  of  these  were  papered, 
with  linoleum  on  the  floor,  pictures  on  the  wall,  and  contained 
bathrooms,  electric  lights  and  electric  bells.  There  were  also  at 
convenient  points  bolt  holes  from  which  the  occupants  could 
escape  in  case  of  surprise.  Some  of  the  dugouts  had  two  stories, 
the  first  being  reached  by  a  thirty-foot  staircase.  Another  stair- 
way about  as  long  communicated  with  the  lower  floor.  Every 
preparation  seemed  to  have  been  made  for  permanent  occupation. 
The  Germans  ha4  good  reasons  fdr  believing  that  their  position 


was  impregnable.  The  utmost  ingenuity  had  been  employed  to 
fortify  every  point.  Carefully  screened  manholes  used  by  the 
snipers  were  reached  by  long  tunnels  from  the  trenches.  The 
most  notable  piece  of  military  engineering  was  a  heavily  timbered 
communication  trench  300  feet  long,  and  of  such  a  depth  that 
those  passing  through  it  were  safe  from  even  the  heaviest 

Late  in  the  afternoon  Mametz  fell,  after  it  had  been  reduced 
to  a  group  of  ruined  walls,  above  which  rose  a  rough  pile  of 
broken  masonry  that  represented  the  village  church.  The  Ger- 
mans who  occupied  trench  lines  on  the  southern  side  had  shat- 
tered the  British  trenches  opposite  Mametz  so  completely  that 
the  British  infantry  were  forced  to  advance  over  open  ground. 



TjlROM  the  hamlet  of  Vaux,  ruined  by  German  artillery,  on  the 
■^  right  bank  of  the  Somme,  part  of  the  battle  field,  with  the 
configuration  of  a  long  crest,  looks  like  a  foaming  sea  stretching 
away  to  the  horizon. 

Against  the  whitish  yellow  background  the  woods  resolve  into 
dark  patches  and  the  quarries  into  vast  geometric  figures.  In 
the  valley  the  Somme  zigzags  among  the  poplars ;  its  marshy  bed 
is  covered  with  rushes  and  aquatic  plants;  on  the  left  stand 
crumbled  walls  surrounding  an  orchard  whose  trees  were  shat- 
tered by  German  shells.  This  is  the  mill  of  Fargny  through 
which  the  French  line  passes.  A  little  beyond  at  a  place  called 
Chapeau-de-Gendarme  was  the  first  German  trench,  and  farther 
still  in  the  valley  stands  the  village  of  Curlu,  its  surrounding 
gardens  occupied  by  Bavarian  troops.  To  the  eastward,  half 
hidden  by  the  trees,  a  glimpse  could  be  had  of  the  walls  of  the 
village  of  Hem.    In  the  distance  a  solitary  church  spire  marked 

388  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

the  site  of  P^ronne,  a  fortress  surrounded  by  its  moat  of  three 

General  Foch  had  planned  his  advance  in  the  same  methodical 
manner  as  the  British  command.  At  half  past  7  on  the  morning 
of  July  1,  1916,  the  French  infantry  dashed  forward  to  assault 
the  German  trenches.  During  a  period  of  nearly  two  years  the 
Germans  had  been  allowed  leisure  to  strongly  fortify  their  posi- 
tions. At  different  points  there  were  two,  three  and  four  lines 
of  trenches  bounded  by  deep  ditches,  with  the  woods  and  the 
village  of  Curlu  organized  for  defense.  But  the  magnificent 
driving  power  of  the  French  infantry  carried  all  before  it,  and  by 
a  single  dash  they  overran  and  captured  the  foremost  German 
works.  Mounting  the  steep  ascent  of  the  height  that  is  called 
Chapeau-de-Gendarme  the  young  soldiers  of  the  class  of  1916, 
who  then  and  there  received  their  baptism  of  fire,  waved  thein 
hats  and  handkerchiefs  and  shouted  "Vive  la  France!" 

The  French  troops  had  reached  the  first  houses  of  the  village 
of  Curlu  occupied  by  Bavarian  troops,  who  offered  a  most  stub^ 
born  resistance.  Machine  guns  and  mitrailleuses,  which  the 
French  bombardment  had  not  destroyed,  appeared  suddenly  on 
the  roofs  of  houses,  in  the  ventholes  of  the  cellars,  and  in  every 
available  opening. 

The  French  infantry,  obedient  to  the  orders  they  had  received, 
at  once  stopped  their  advance  and  crouched  on  the  ground  while 
the  French  artillery  recommenced  a  terrible  bombardment  of  the 
village.  In  about  half  an  hour  most  of  the  houses  in  the  place 
had  been  razed  to  the  ground,  and  the  enemy  guns  were  silenced. 
This  time  without  pause  the  French  infantry  went  forward  and 
Curlu  was  captured  without  a  single  casualty.  The  Germans 
later  attempted  a  counterattack,  but  the  village  remained  in 
French  hands. 

There  were  found  in  the  ruined  houses  a  large  number  of 
packages  which  had  been  put  together  by  the  Bavarians,  con- 
sisting of  articles  of  dress,  pieces  of  furniture,  household  orna- 
ments, and  a  great  variety  of  objects  stolen  from  the  inhabitants 
of  the  village.  The  sudden  attack  of  the  French  troops  did  not 
allow  the  Bavarians  time  to  escape  with  their  loot. 


During  the  three  days  that  followed  the  French  were  entirely 
occupied  with  organizing  and  consolidating  the  positions  they 
had  conquered. 

At  7  a.  m.  on  July  5,  1916,  they  began  a  fresh  offensive.  In 
a  few  hours'  fighting  the  village  of  Hem  and  all  the  surrounding 
trenches  had  been  captured.  About  noon  the  few  houses  in  the 
village  to  which  the  Germans  had  clung  tenaciously  were 

Thanks  to  the  prudence  of  the  French  command  and  the  wis- 
dom of  their  plans  and  the  rapidity  with  which  the  attack  had 
been  carried  out,  the  casualties  were  less  than  had  been  antici- 
pated and  out  of  all  proportion  to  the  value  of  the  conquered 

While  the  French  were  thus  forcing  the  pace  and  winning 
successes  north  of  the  Somme,  their  brothers  in  arms  south  of 
the  river  were  carrying  out  some  important  operations  with 
neatness  and  dispatch. 

In  this  area  the  French  launched  their  attack  on  July  1,  1916, 
at  9.30  a.  m.,  on  a  front  of  almost  ten  kilometers  from  the  village 
of  Frise  to  a  point  opposite  the  village  of  Estrees. 

Here  it  was  that  a  Colonial  corps  that  had  especially  dis- 
tinguished itself  during  the  war  delivered  an  assault  that  was 
entirely  successful.  The  Germans  were  taken  by  surprise.  The 
French  captured  German  officers  engaged  in  the  act  of  shaving 
or  making  their  toilet  in  the  dugouts;  whole  battalions  were 
rounded  up,  and  all  this  was  done  with  the  minimum  of  loss. 
One  French  regiment  had  only  two  casualties,  and  the  total  for 
one  division  was  800.  The  villages  of  Dompierre,  Becquincourt, 
and  Bussu  were  in  French  hands  before  nightfall,  and  about  five 
miles  had  been  gouged  out  of  the  German  front.  Southward  the 
Bretons  of  the  Thirty-fifth  Corps,  splendid  fighters  all,  had  cap- 
tured Fay.  Between  them  the  Allies  had  captured  on  this  day 
the  enemy's  first  position  without  a  break,  a  front  of  fourteen 
miles  stretching  from  Mametz  to  Fay.  They  had  taken  about 
6,000  prisoners  and  a  vast  quantity  of  guns  and  military  stores. 

On  July  2,  1916,  the  French  infantry  attacked  the  village  of 
Frise,  and  by  noon  the  Germans  were  forced  to  evacuate  the 

390  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

place.  Here  the  French  captured  a  battery  of  seventy-sevens 
which  the  enemy  had  not  had  time  to  destroy.  Pushing  rapidly 
on,  the  French  took  the  wood  of  Mereaucourt.  The  village  of 
Herbecourt,  a  little  more  to  the  south,  was  captured  by  the 
French  after  an  hour's  fighting.  By  early  dark  the  entire  group 
of  German  defenses  was  taken,  thus  linking  Herbecourt  to  the 
village  of  Assevillers. 

Between  this  last  place  and  the  river  they  broke  into  the 
German  second  position.  Fayolle's  left  now  commanded  the 
light  railway  from  Combles  to  P^ronne,  his  center  held  the 
great  loop  of  the  Somme  at  Frise  village,  while  his  right  was 
only  four  miles  from  P^ronne  itself. 

During  the  day  of  July  3,  1916,  the  French  continued  their 
victorious  advance,  capturing  Assevillers  and  Flaucourt.  During 
the  night  their  cavalry  advanced  as  far  as  the  village  of  Barleux, 
which  was  strongly  held  by  the  Germans.  On  the  day  following, 
July  4, 1916,  the  Foreign  Legion  of  the  Colonial  Corps  had  taken 
Belloy-en-Santerre,  a  point  in  iihie  third  line.  On  July  5, 1916,  the 
Thirty-fifth  Corps  occupied  the  greater  part  of  Estrees  and  were 
only  three  miles  distant  from  P^ronne. 

The  Germans  attempted  several  counterattacks,  aided  by  their 
Seventeenth  Division,  which  had  been  hurried  to  support,  but 
these  were  futile,  and  finally  the  German  railhead  was  moved 
from  Peronne  to  Chaulnes. 

There  followed  a  few  days*  pause,  employed  by  the  French  in 
consolidating  their  gains  and  in  minor  operations.  On  the  night 
of  July  9,  1916,  the  French  commander  Fayolle  took  the  village 
of  Biaches,  only  a  mile  from  Peronne.  The  German  losses  had 
been  very  great  since  the  beginning  of  the  French  offensive,  and 
at  this  place  an  entire  regiment  was  destroyed.  On  July  10, 
1916,  the  French  succeeded  in  reaching  La  Maisonette,  the 
highest  point  in  that  part  of  the  country,  and  held  a  front  from 
there  to  Barleux — a  position  beyond  the  third  German  line.  In 
this  sector  nothing  now  confronted  Fayolle  but  the  line  of  the 
upper  Somme,  south  of  the  river.  North  of  the  stream  some 
points  in  the  second  line  had  been  won,  but  it  had  been  only 
partly  carried  northward  from  Hem. 


The  French  attacks  north  and  south  of  the  Somme  had  at  al 
points  won  their  objectives  and  something  more.  In  less  than 
two  weeks  Fayolle  had,  on  a  front  ten  miles  long  and  having  a 
maximum  depth  of  six  and  a  half  miles,  carried  fifty  square  miles 
of  territory,  containing  military  works,  trenches,  and  fortified 
villages.  The  French  had  also  captured  a  large  amount  of  booty 
which  included  85  cannon,  some  of  the  largest  size,  100  mitra- 
illeuses, 26  "Minenwerfer,"  and  stores  of  ammunition  and  war 
material.    They  took  prisoner  236  officers  and  12,000  men. 

It  might  well  be  said  that  this  was  a  very  splendid  result 
But  it  only  marked  the  first  stage  in  the  French  assault. 

The  measured  and  sustained  regularity  of  this  advance,  the 
precision  and  order  of  the  entire  maneuver,  are  deserving  of  a 
more  detailed  description.  If  we  examine  what  might  be  called 
its  strategic  mechanism,  it  will  be  noted  that  south  of  the  Somme 
the  French  line  turned  with  its  left  on  a  pivot  placed  at  its  right 
in  front  of  Estrees. 

The  longer  the  battle  continued  the  more  this  turning  move- 
ment became  accentuated.  On  July  3,  1916,  the  extreme  left 
advanced  from  Mericourt  to  Buscourt,  the  left  from  Herbecourt 
to  Flaucourt,  which  was  taken,  while  the  center  occupied 

On  the  4th  the  right,  abandoning  in  its  turn  the  role  of  fixed 
point,  moved  forward  and  took  the  two  villages  of  Estrees  and 
Belloy.  Thus  in  the  first  four  days  of  July,  1916,  the  French 
forces  operating  south  of  the  Somme  constantly  marched  with 
the  left  in  advance. 

After  a  pause  for  rest  and  to  consolidate  positions  won,  the 
attack  was  again  resumed  by  the  left  wing  on  the  9th,  and  car- 
ried before  Peronne,  Biaches,  and  La  Maisonette. 

It  will  be  seen  by  this  outline  of  operations  that  the  maneuver, 
which  began  early  in  an  easterly  direction,  developed  into  a 
movement  toward  the  south.  The  object  as  stated  in  the  official 
communique  was  to  clear  the  interior  of  the  angle  of  the  Somme 
and  to  cover  the  right  of  the  French  troops  operating  north  of 
the  river.  This  delicate  maneuver  involved  great  difficulty  and 
risk,  inasmuch  as  the  French  right  flank  became  the  target  for 

392  THE    STORY   OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

an  enfilading  fire  from  the  south.  By  consulting  the  map  it  will 
be  seen  that  the  artillery  positions  south  of  Villers  direct  an 
enfilading  fire  on  the  plateau  of  Flaucourt  and  points  near  by. 
The  French  General  Staff  showed  keen  foresight  in  parrying  this 
danger  by  advancing  the  right  at  the  proper  moment. 

By  these  operations  the  French  had  reached  the  actual  suburbs 
of  the  old  fortified  city  of  Peronne,  occupying  a  strong  strategic 
position  above  the  angle  made  by  the  Somme  between  Bray 
and  Ham. 

It  is  a  natural  and  necessary  road  of  passage  for  all  armies 
coming  from  the  north  or  south  that  want  to  cross  the  river. 
Blucher  in  his  pursuit  of  the  French  armies  after  the  Battle  of 
Waterloo  crossed  the  Somme  exactly  at  this  point. 

As  a  matter  of  fact  at  this  time  both  adversaries  were  astride 
of  the  river,  the  Allies  facing  the  east  and  the  Germans  facing 
toward  the  west.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  this  is  exactly 
the  situation  that  prevailed  in  the  war  of  1870,  but  with  the 
roles  reversed.  At  that  time  the  Germans  were  attacking 
Peronne  as  the  French  forces  were  attacking  it  in  July,  1916; 
they  came,  however,  from  the  direction  of  Amiens,  precisely  as 
the  French  came  on  this  occasion. 

The  French,  on  the  other  hand,  were  in  the  positions  of  the 
Germans — ^they  came  from  the  north.  The  army  of  Faidherbe 
had  its  bases  at  Lille  and  Cambrai  as  the  Crown  Prince  of 
Bavaria  had  his  in  the  present  war. 



rpHE  British  captured  the  fortified  villages  of  Mametz  and 
-*-  Montauban  on  July  1,  1916.  This  success,  as  will  have  been 
noted,  put  the  British  right  wing  well  in  advance  of  their  center ; 
and  to  make  the  gap  in  the  German  position  uniform  over  a 
broad  enough  front  it  was  necessary  to  move  forward  the  left 


part  of  the  British  line  from  Thiepval  to  Fricourt.  At  this  timfe 
the  extreme  British  left  was  inactive,  in  the  circumstances  it 
seemed  doubtful  that  a  new  attack  would  be  profitable,  so  what 
was  left  of  the  advanced  guard  of  the  Ulster  Division  retired 
from  the  Schwaben  Redoubt  to  its  original  line.  The  front  had 
now  become  too  large  for  a  single  commander  to  manage  success- 
fully, so  to  General  Hubert  Gough  of  the  Reserve,  or  Fifth  Army, 
was  given  the  ground  north  of  the  Albert-Bapaume  road,  includ- 
ing the  area  of  the  Fourth  and  Eighth  Corps. 

Sunday,  July  2,  1916,  was  a  day  of  steady  heat  and  blinding 
dust,  and  the  troops  suffered  severely.  At  Ovillers  and  La 
Boiaelle  the  Third  Corps  sustained  all  day  long  a  desperate 
struggle.  Two  new  divisions  which  had  been  brought  forward  to 
support  now  joined  the  fighting.  One  of  these  divisions  success- 
fully carried  the  trenches  before  Ovillers  and  the  other  in  the 
night  penetrated  the  ruins  of  the  village  of  La  Boiselle. 

The  Germans  had  evidently  not  recovered  from  their  surprise 
in  the  south,  for  no  counterattacks  were  attempted,  nor  had  any 
reserve  divisions  been  brought  to  their  support.  Throughout 
the  long,  stifling  July  day  squadrons  of  Allied  aeroplanes  were 
industriously  bombing  depots  and  lines  of  communication  back 
of  the  German  front.  The  much-lauded  Fokkers  were  flitting 
here  and  there,  doing  little  damage.  Two  were  sent  to  earth  by 
Allied  airmen  before  the  day  was  over.  The  Allies  had  a  great 
number  of  kite  balloons  ("sausages")  in  the  air,  but  only  one 
belonging  to  the  Germans  was  in  evidence. 

With  the  capture  of  Mametz  and  positions  in  Fricourt  Wood 
to  the  east,  Fricourt  could  not  hold  out,  and  about  noon  on  July 
2,  1916,  the  place  was  in  British  hands.  Evidently  the  Germans 
had  anticipated  the  fall  of  the  village,  for  a  majority  of  the 
garrison  had  escaped  during  the  night.  But  when  the  British 
entered  the  village,  bombing  their  way  from  building  to  building, 
they  captured  Germans  in  suflficiently  large  nunxbers  to  make  the 
victory  profitable. 

On  Monday,  July  3,  1916,  General  von  Below  issued  an  order 
to  his  troops  which  showed  that  the  German  officers  appreciated 
the  seriousness  of  the  Allied  offensive : 



^      tn 


"The  decisive  issue  of  the  war  depends  on  the  victory  of  the 
Second  Army  on  ttie  Somme.  We  must  win  this  battle  in  spite 
of  the  enemy's  temporary  superiority  in  artillery  and  infantry. 
The  important  ground  lost  in  certain  places  will  be  recaptured 
by  our  attack  after  the  arrival  of  reenforcements.  The  vital 
thing"  is  to  hold  on  to  our  present  positions  at  all  costs  and  to 
improve  them.  I  forbid  the  voluntary  evacuation  of  trenches. 
The  will  to  stand  firm  must  be  impressed  on  every  man  in  the 
army.  The  enemy  should  have  to  carve  his  way  over  heaps  of 
corpses.  .  .  ." 

To  understand  the  exact  position  of  the  British  forces  on  July 
3,  1916,  the  alignment  of  the  new  front  must  be  described  in 

The  first  section  extended  from  Thiepval  to  Fricourt,  be- 
tween which  the  Albert-Bapaume  road  ran  in  a  straight  line 
over  the  watershed.  Thiepval,  Ovillers,  and  La  Boiselle  were 
positions  in  the  German  front  line.  East  of  the  last  place  the 
fortified  village  of  Contalmaison  occupied  high  ground,  forming 
as  it  were  a  pivot  in  the  German  intermediate  line  covering  their 
field  guns. 

The  British  second  position  ran  through  Pozieres  to  the  two 
Bazentins  and  as  far  as  Guillemont.  Thiepval  and  Ovillers  had 
not  yet  been  taken,  and  only  a  portion  of  La  Boiselle,  but  the 
British  had  broken  through  the  first  position  south  of  that  place 
and  had  pushed  well  along  on  the  road  to  Contalmaison.  This 
northern  section  had  been  transformed  by  warfare  into  a  scene 
of  desolation,  bare,  and  forbidding,  seamed  with  trenches  and 
pitted  with  shell  holes.  The  few  trees  along  the  roads  had  been 
razed — ^the  only  vegetation  to  be  seen  being  coarse  grass  and 
weeds  and  thistles. 

The  southern  section  between  Fricourt  and  Montauban  pre- 
sented a  more  inviting  prospect.  A  line  of  woods  extended  from 
the  first  village  in  a  northeasterly  direction,  a  second  line  run- 
ning from  Montauban  around  Longueval.  In  this  sector  all  the 
German  first  positions  had  been  captured.  The  second  position 
ran  through  a  heavily  wooded  country  and  the  villages  of  the 
Bazentins,  Longueval,  and  Guillemont. 

396  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

During  the  night  of  July  2,  1916,  the  British  had  penetrated 
La  Boiselle,  and  throughout  the  following  day  the  battle  raged 
around  that  place  and  Ovillers.  The  fighting  was  of  the  most 
desperate  character,  every  foot  of  ground  being  contested  by  the 
opposing  forces.  The  struggle  seesawed  back  and  forth,  here 
and  there  the  Germans  gaining  a  little  ground,  only  to  lose  it  a 
little  later  when  a  vigorous  British  attack  forced  them  to  fall 
back,  and  so  the  tide  of  battle  ebbed  and  flowed. 

On  July  4,  1916,  the  heat  wave  was  broken  by  violent  thunder- 
storms and  a  heavy  rain  that  transformed  the  dusty  terrain  into 
quagmires,  through  which  Briton  and  German  fought  on  with 
(undiminished  spirit  and  equal  valor.  On  the  morning  of  July  5, 
1916,  the  British,  after  one  of  the  bloodiest  struggles  in  this 
sector,  captured  La  Boiselle  and  carried  forward  their  attack 
toward  Bailiff  Wood  and  Contalmaison. 

In  the  five  days'  fighting  since  they  assumed  the  offensive  the 
British  had  been  hard  hit  at  some  points,  but  at  others  had 
registered  substantial  gains.  They  had  captured  a  good  part 
of  the  German  first  line  and  carried  by  assault  strongly  fortified 
villages  defended  stubbornly  by  valiant  troops.  The  total  num- 
ber of  prisoners  taken  by  the  British  was  by  this  time  more  than 
6,000.  These  first  engagements  had  for  the  British  one  exceed- 
ingly important  result:  it  gave  to  the  troops  an  absolute  con- 
fidence in  their  fighting  powers.  They  had  shown  successfully 
that  they  could  measure  themselves  with  the  best  soldiers  of 
the  kaiser  and  beat  them. 

During  the  day  of  July  5,  1916,  the  British  repulsed  several 
counterattacks  and  fortified  the  ground  that  they  had  already 
won.  On  this  date  Horseshoe  Trench,  the  main  defense  of 
Contalmaison  from  the  west,  was  attacked,  and  here  a  battalion 
of  West  Yorks  fought  with  distinction  and  succeeded  in  making 
a  substantial  advance. 

There  was  a  pause  in  the  fighting  during  the  day  of  July  6, 
1916,  as  welcome  to  the  Germans  as  to  the  British,  for  some  rest 
was  imperative. 

On  Friday,  July  7,  1916,  the  British  began  an  attack  on 
Contalmaison  from  Sausage  Valley  on  the  southwest,  and  from 


the  labyrinth  of  copses  north  of  Fricourt  through  which  ran  the 
Contalmaison-Fricourt  highroad. 

South  of  Thiepval  there  was  a  salient  which  the  Germans  had 
organized  and  strongly  fortified  during  twenty  months'  prepara- 
tion. After  a  violent  bombardment  the  British  attacked  and 
captured  this  formidable  stronghold.  More  to  the  south  they 
took  German  trenches  on  the  outskirts  of  Ovillers. 

The  attack  ranged  from  the  Leipzig  Redoubt  and  the  environs 
of  Ovillers  to  the  skirts  of  Contalmaison.  After  an  intense 
bombardment  the  British  infantry  advanced  on  Contalmaison 
and  on  the  right  from  two  points  of  the  wood.  Behind  them  the 
German  barrage  fire,  beating  time  methodically,  entirely  hid 
from  view  the  attacking  columns. 

By  noon  the  British  infantry,  having  carried  Bailiff  Wood  by 
storm,  captured  the  greater  part  of  Contalmaison.  There  they 
found  a  small  body  of  British  soldiers  belonging  to  the  North- 
umberland Fusiliers  who  had  been  made  prisoners  by  the  Ger- 
mans a  few  days  before  and  were  penned  up  in  a  shelter  in  the 
village.  The  British  were  opposed  by  "die  Third  Prussian  Guard 
Division — the  famous  "Cockchafers'* — ^who  lost  700  men  as  pris- 
oners during  the  attack.  In  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day,  July 
7,  1916,  the  Germans  delivered  a  strong  counterattack,  and  the 
British,  unable  to  secure  reenforcements,  and  not  strong  enough 
to  maintain  the  position,  were  forced  out  of  the  village,  though 
able  to  keep  hold  of  the  southern  comer. 

On  the  following  day,  July  8,  1916,  the  British  struggled  for 
the  possession  of  Ovillers,  now  a  conglomeration  of  shattered 
trencihes,  shell  holes  and  ruined  walls.  Every  yard  of  ground 
was  fought  over  with  varying  fortunes  by  the  combatants. 
While  this  stubborn  fight  was  under  way  the  British  were  driving 
out  the  Germans  from  their  fortified  positions  among  the  groves 
and  copses  around  Contalmaison,  and  consolidating  their  gains. 

In  the  night  of  July  10,  1916,  the  British,  advancing  from 
Bailiff  Wood  on  the  west  side  of  Contalmaison,  pressed  forward 
in  four  successive  waves,  their  guns  pouring  a  flood  of  shells 
before  them,  and  breaking  into  the  northwest  comer,  and  after  a 
desperate  hand-to-hand  conflict,  during  which  prodigies  of  valor 

398  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

were  performed  on  both  sides,  drove  out  the  Germans  and 
occupied  the  entire  village.  The  victory  had  not  been  won  with- 
out considerable  cost  in  casualties.  The  British  captured  189 
prisoners,  including  a  commander  of  a  battalion. 

Ovillers,  where  the  most  violent  fighting  had  raged  for  some 
days,  continued  to  hold  out,  though  surrounded  and  cut  off  from 
all  relief  from  the  outside.  Knowing  this  the  German  garrison 
still  fought  on,  and  it  was  not  until  July  16,  1916,  that  the 
brave  remnant  consisting  of  two  officers  and  124  guardsmen 

We  now  turn  to  the  British  operations  in  the  southern  sector 
where  they  were  trying  to  clear  out  the  fortified  woods  that 
intervened  between  them  and  the  German  second  line. 

On  July  3, 1916,  the  ground  east  of  Fricourt  Wood  was  clear  of 
Germans  and  the  way  opened  to  Mametz  Wood.  During  the 
day  the  (Jermans  attempted  a  counterattack,  and  incidentally 
the  British  enjoyed  "a  good  time."  A  fresh  German  division 
had  just  arrived  at  Montauban,  which  received  such  a  cruel 
welcome  from  the  British  guns  that  it  must  have  depressed  their 
fighting  spirit.  East  of  Mametz  a  battalion  from  the  Champagne 
front  appeared  and  was  destroyed,  or  made  prisoner,  a  short 
time  after  detraining  at  the  railhead.  The  British  took  a  thou- 
sand prisoners  within  a  small  area  of  this  sector.  An  eyewitness 
describes  seeing  600  German  prisoners  being  led  to  the  rear  by 
three  ragged  soldiers  of  a  Scotch  regiment  *'like  pipers  at  the 
head  of  a  battalion." 

The  British  entered  the  wood  of  Mametz  to  the  north  of 
Mametz  village  on  July  4,  1916,  and  captured  the  wood  of 
Bamafay.  These  positions  were  not  carried  without  stiff  fight- 
ing, for  the  Germans  had  fortified  the  woods  in  every  conceivable 
manner.  Machine-gun  redoubts  connected  by  hidden  trenches 
were  everywhere,  even  in  the  trees  there  were  machine  guns, 
while  the  thick  bushes  and  dense  undergrowth  impeded  every 
movement.  In  such  a  jungle  the  fighting  was  largely  a  matter  of 
hand-to-hand  conflicts.  The  German  guns  were  well  served,  and 
every  position  won  by  the  British  was  at  once  subjected  to  a 
heavy  counterbombardment.    Indeed  from  July  4,  1916,  onward, 


there  was  scarcely  any  cessation  to  the  German  fire  on  the  entire 
British  front,  and  around  Fricourt,  Mametz,  and  Montauban  in 
the  background. 

On  July  7, 1916,  the  British  General  Staff  informed  the  French 
high  command  that  they  would  make  an  attack  on  Trones  Wood 
on  the  following  morning,  asking  for  their  cooperation.  Assisted 
by  the  flanking  fire  of  the  French  guns,  the  British  penetrated 
Trones  Wood,  and  obtained  a  foothold  there,  seizing  a  line  of 
trenches  and  capturing  130  prisoners  and  several  mitrailleuses. 
On  the  same  day  the  French  on  the  British  right  were  pushing 
forward  toward  Maltzhorn  Farm. 

Trones  Wood  which  for  some  days  was  to  be  the  scene  of  the 
aottest  fighting  in  the  southern  British  sector,  is  triangular  in 
[orm  and  about  1,400  meters  in  length,  running  north  and  south. 
Its  southern  side  is  about  forty  meters.  The  Germans  directed 
against  it  a  violent  bombardment  with  shells  of  every  caliber. 

Owing  to  its  peculiar  position  every  advantage  was  in  favor 
of  the  defense.  Maltzhorn  Ridge  commanded  the  southern  part, 
and  the  German  position  at  Longueval  commanded  the  northern 
portion.  The  German  second  line  in  a  semicircle  extended  around 
the  wood  north  and  east,  and  as  the  covert  was  heavy,  organized 
movement  was  impossible  while  the  German  artillery  had  free 

The  British,  however,  continued  to  advance  slowly  and 
stubbornly  from  the  southern  point  where  they  had  obtained  a 
foothold,  but  it  was  not  until  the  fire  of  the  German  guns  had 
been  diverted  by  pressure  elsewhere  that  they  were  able  to  make 
any  appreciable  gains  on  their  way  northward. 

On  July  9,  1916,  at  8  o'clock  the  Germans  launched  desperate 
counterattacks  directed  from  the  east  to  the  southeast.  The  first 
failed;  the  second  succeeded  in  landing  them  in  the  southern 
part  of  the  wood,  but  they  were  ultimately  repulsed  with  heavy 
losses.  During  the  night  there  was  a  fresh  German  attack 
strongly  delivered  that  was  broken  by  British  fire.  Of  the  six 
counterattacks  delivered  by  the  Germans  between  Sunday  night 
and  Monday  afternoon,  July  9-10,  1916,  the  last  enabled  them 
to  gain  some  ground  in  the  wood,  but  it  was  at  a  heavy  cost. 

Z— War  St.  5 

400  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

They  did  not  long  enjoy  even  this  small  success,  for  on  Tuesday, 
July  11, 1916,  the  British  had  recaptured  the  entire  wood  except- 
ing* a  small  portion  in  the  extreme  northern  comer. 

On  the  same  date  the  British  advanced  to  the'  north  end  of 
Mametz  Wood,  and  by  evening  of  July  12,  1916,  had  captured 
virtually  the  whole  of  it,  gathering  in  some  hundreds  of  German 
prisoners  in  the  operation.  The  place  had  not  been  easily  won, 
for  while  the  whole  wood  did  not  comprise  more  than  two  hun- 
dred acres  or  so,  there  was  a  perfect  network  of  trenches  and 
apparently  miles  of  barbed-wire  entanglements,  while  machine 
guns  were  everywhere.  It  was  only  after  the  British  succeeded 
in  clearing  out  maohine-gun  positions  on  the  north  side,  and 
enfiladed  every  advance,  that  they  were  able  to  get  through  the 
wood  and  to  face  at  last  the  main  German  second  position.  This 
ran,  as  will  have  been  noted,  from  Pozieres  through  the  Bazentins 
and  Longueval  to  Guillemont.  The  capture  of  Contalmaison  was 
a  necessary  preliminary  to  the  next  stage  of  the  British  advance. 
After  the  fall  of  this  place  Sir  Douglas  Haig  issued  a  summary 
of  the  first  of  the  gains  made  by  the  Allies  since  the  beginning 
of  the  offensive : 

"After  ten  days  and  nights  of  continuous  fighting  our  troops 
have  completed  the  methodical  capture  of  the  whole  of  the 
enemy's  first  system  of  defense  on  a  front  of  14,000  yards.  This 
system  of  defense  consisted  of  numerous  and  continuous  lines  of 
fire  trenches,  extending  to  various  depths  of  from  2,000  to  4,000 
yards  and  included  five  strongly  fortified  villages,  numerous 
heavily  wired  and  intrenched  woods,  and  a  large  number  of  im- 
mensely strong  redoubts.  The  capture  of  each  of  these  trenches 
represented  an  operation  of  some  importance,  and  the  whole  of 
them  are  now  in  our  hands." 

General  Haig's  summary  of  what  had  been  accomplished  in 
the  first  stage  of  the  battle  of  the  Somme  was  modest  in  its 
claims.  The  British  had  failed  in  the  north  from  Thiepval  to 
Gommecourt,  but  in  the  south  they  had  cut  their  way  through 
almost  impregnable  defenses  and  now  occupied  a  strong  position 
that  promised  well  for  the  next  offensive.  At  the  close  of  the 
first  phase  of  the  battle  the  number  of  prisoners  in  the  hands  of 

BATTLE    OF    THE    SOMME— SECOND    PHASE     401 

the  British  had  risen  to  7,500.  The  French  had  captured  11,000. 
The  vigor  with  which  the  offensive  had  been  pushed  by  the  Allies 
caused  the  Germans  to  bring  forward  the  bulk  of  their  reserves, 
but  they  were  unable  to  check  the  advance  and  lost  heavily. 


THE     SECOND     PHASE     OF     THE     BATTLE 
OF     THE     SOMME 

BRITISH  commanders  are  methodical  and  believe  in  preparing 
thoroughly  before  an  attack,  but  they  are  ready  at  times  to 
take  a  gambler's  chance  if  the  moment  seems  opportune  to  win 
by  striking  the  enemy  a  sudden  and  unexpected  blow. 

At  half  past  three  in  the  morning  of  July  14,  1916,  the  British 
started  an  attack  with  full  Imowledge  of  the  risk  involved,  but 
hoping  to  find  the  Germans  poorly  prepared.  At  Contalmaison 
Villa  and  Mametz  Wood  they  held  positions  within  a  few  hundred 
yards  of  the  German  line.  It  was  the  section  from  Bazentin-le- 
Grand  and  Longueval  where  the  danger  lay,  for  here  there  was 
a  long  advance  to  be  made,  as  far  as  a  mile  in  some  places,  up 
the  slopes  north  of  Caterpillar  Valley. 

French  officers  are  not  inclined  to  err  on  the  side  of  over- 
eaution,  but  on  this  occasion  more  than  one  of  them  expressed 
a  doubt  that  the  projected  British  attack  would  succeed. 

The  14th  of  July  is  a  national  holiday  in  France,  the  anni- 
versary of  the  fall  of  the  Bastille.  Paris  was  in  gala  attire,  the 
scene  of  a  great  parade,  such  as  that  city  had  not  witnessed  in  its 
varied  history,  when  the  Allied  troops,  Belgians,  Russians,  Brit- 
ish, and  the  blue-clad  warriors  of  France,  were  reviewed  by  the 
President  of  the  Republic  amid  the  frantic  acclamations  of  de- 
lighted crowds.  On  this  day  so  dear  to  the  heart  of  every  French 
patriot  the  British  troops  in  Picardy  were  dealing  hammer  blows 
to  the  German  line  with  the  rallying  cry  of  "Vive  la  France"  that 
made  up  in  sincerity  what  it  lacked  in  Parisian  accent. 

402  THE    STORY    OF   THE    GREAT   WAR 

The  front  selected  for  the  British  attack  was  a  space  of  about 
four  miles  from  a  point  southeast  of  Longueval,  Pozieres  to 
Longueval,  and  Delville  Wood.  The  work  cut  out  for  the  British 
right  flank  to  perform  was  the  clearing  out  of  Trones  Wood  still 
partly  occupied  by  the  Germans.  The  two  Bazentins,  Longueval, 
and  the  wood  of  Delville  were  either  sheltered  by  a  wood,  or 
there  was  one  close  by  that  was  always  a  nest  of  cunningly 
hidden  guns.  More  than  a  mile  beyond  the  center  of  the  German 
position,  High  Wood,  locally  known  as  Foumeaux,  formed  a